FOLLOW US :
212-300-5196

SNAP Benefits Trafficking

SNAP BenefitsTrafficking 

 

SNAP Benefits Trafficking remains the most serious offense an EBT retailer can be accused of.  Interestingly, it is also the most common SNAP violation that the USDA charges.  If you have been accused of trafficking in SNAP benefits at your store, the sanctions come harsh and swift, and criminal charges are a strong possibility.  It is important to understand that a trafficking allegation is much more than just a claim that your store misused a customer’s EBT card. Examples of things you cannot sell, are glass bongs, red wine, tequila, liquor, etc. 

 

Trafficking is characterized as any illegal exchange of snap benefits.  Such a crime can take many different forms and the USDA’s definition encompasses six different kinds of trafficking activities:

 

  • Buying/Selling/Stealing an EBT card or its account and/or PIN number for cash or other items of value;
  • Swapping firearms, ammunition, explosives or drugs for snap funds or for an EBT card;
  • Buying items that have a bottle refund, discarding the contents and exchanging the bottle for the refund;
  • Buying food with an EBT card for resale to someone else for cash;
  • If an snap participant purchases food with their EBT card, then exchanges it to a snap retailer store for cash or credit, that’s trafficking.
  • Disbursing “cash back” on an EBT transaction, regardless of whether or not the proprietor of the store or any of its employees benefit financially from the transaction.

 

How do I Know if I Have Been Charged with Trafficking?

There are three ways that grocery store owners can be charged with trafficking.  All three involve the receipt of a letter.  The “Charge Letter”, as it is called, is delivered by UPS overnight from the FNS. This letter spells out the specific allegations being charged against your store.  The most common trafficking charge is referred to as an “EBT” case.  EBT is short for for Electronic Benefit Transfer – but it is a data analysis case.  The Charge Letter looks like this:

 

SNAP Trafficking Charge Letter

 

In your charge letter, the USDA lists the transaction pattern categories that raised the red flag that lead to their finding of snap trafficking.  A number of Exhibits with lists of transactions usually comes attached to the letter.  The Department has testified in numerous cases that they believed the defendants were engaging in “cash back” trafficking transactions. We will explain to you what you should do with an EBT snap trafficking charge letter here.  Nonetheless,your best chances of success in these cases almost always requires legal counsel to get involved.

 

Another type of trafficking charge letter is sent by the Retailer Investigations Branch, or RIB.  These charges came about because an undercover agent from the USDA secretly shopped in your store.  Such a letter will come with an affidavit attached to it that look like this:

 

Undercover agent affidavit

 

Such cases are much more oriented in the minute details than the EBT driven cases.  Without an attorney, your chances are low of mounting a successful defense.  We do offer you a free consultation, so if you got one of these letters in the mail, contact us as quickly as you can.

 

The final charge letter comes at the culmination of an Office of Inspector General investigation.  OIG also conducts undercover investigations, but these are customarily conducted for the purposes of bringing criminal charges.   An OIG letter looks like this:

 

OIG charge letter

 

All of these charge letters mean criminal investigations, although they do not always end up in  criminal charges against the business or it’s proprietor.  We strongly advise you against attempting to handle such matters on your own – again, we can give you a consultation free of charge to help grocery store owners to avoid making their problems bigger.

 

What Steps You Should Take If You Are Charged with snap Trafficking

 

snap trafficking cases are grievous.  Due to their far-reaching effects, you need to fight the charges brought by the USDA.  We have compiled a snap Violation Guidebook that shows you how these kinds of cases work and what you can expect from our representation.

 

The first steps are often the most critical steps of the entire process.  That said, here’s a quick guide to help you understand what we are going to need from you as your legal counsel:

 

  1. All transaction receipts that show the purchased items in the transactions indicated by the USDA.
  2. Your store’s inventory records – this can include invoices and receipts for the food your store has purchased.
  3. The business tax records (like sales tax and 1040’s) are indeed useful.
  4. Your profit and loss statements are also helpful.

 

Finally, we mentioned above that you need to call an attorney for these cases.  Our law firm is the longest practicing and most knowledgeable snap Trafficking specialist in the United States.  We boast the largest repository of expertises on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of any law firm, and the officials at the Department is well acquainted with our lawyers.  Who you decide to retain for your battle will make a difference in the outcome of your case. Don’t sell yourself short with delaying and stalling strategies: plan your case to win your case.

 

Give us a call today for your free consultation, 1-833-SNAP-Law.


Based on 362 reviews.
Charle Butler
Charle Butler
2021-03-12
Verified
I was hesitant to hire the Spodek Law Group. I read reviews and knew they have a great reputation. However, I thought I would spend money and not see or speak to my attorney. From the beginning to end of my case Todd and the entire staff were available and willing to help. We worked towards and end result that was way above my expectation and Todd delivered. I am forever grateful for patience and long days and night spent working on my case. Thanks Todd and the entire team!
Mesonista parsons
Mesonista parsons
2021-03-05
Verified
My attorney at Spodek was Abigail. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and concerns, as well as responsive. Her fees are affordable and Abigail took the time to make sure I understood everything relating to my case. I highly recommend Abigail and will request her services in the future.
debabrata chakraborty
debabrata chakraborty
2021-03-03
Verified
Todd A Spodek is the experienced and best criminal lawyer at USA. He is very professional and always respond on time. Alex also very cooperative and always help me. They took care me and my problem like family member. I am 100% satisfied for their professional service. My result was unexpected and amazing. They dismissed my case. I am really grateful to them. I will recommend you to go there if you want to solve your problem. I wish all the best for them.
Asata Hendricks
Asata Hendricks
2021-03-02
Verified
Truly appreciate the work the guys did!. Exceptional team & I know they care about each and everyone of their clients. I am super thankful to be referred to Spodek Law Group and I am grateful Todd & Alex were able to work diligently to achieve an outcome I am pleased with. Despite COVID they stayed on top of things and kept me informed every step of the way. Very thankful.
Mike Moroff
Mike Moroff
2021-02-26
Verified
I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
Josh Katz
Josh Katz
2021-02-24
Verified
Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
L.C.
L.C.
2021-02-24
Verified
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
AnnMarie Soliman
2021-02-23
Verified
I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

FREE CONSULTATION

Testimonials

Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.

~ David Bruce

Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.

~ Rowlin Garcia

Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.

~ Francis Anim

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We provide superior service, excellent results, at a level superior to other criminal defense law firms. Regardless of where your case is, nationwide, we can help you.

Get In Touch

Schedule Your Consultation

Los Angeles

555 W 5th St 35th floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013

212-300-5196



get directions

Queens

35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106

212-300-5196



get directions

NYC

85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004

212-300-5196



get directions

Brooklyn

195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201

212-300-5196



get directions

Call Us