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If the government suspects that a business has committed any kind of food stamp fraud, then an investigation is launched to determine if the allegations are true. There are steps taken that could disqualify a business from accepting food stamp benefits, but the business has the option of a judicial review to try to get the decision reversed.
The judicial review involves a third party who looks into the evidence that is provided to determine if any fraudulent acts occurred. The party will explore various options that could be available and make a decision regarding whether disqualification is in the best interest of the business. In most situations, a federal judge is the third party who examines the case and makes a final decision. The judge doesn’t work for the Food and Nutrition Service or any other department involved with social services or welfare. The judge is a complete outside party who will simply review the material and make a final decision. The review is considered a lawsuit. A business needs to file the proper paperwork to request a review with the review being held in a federal court. If no decision can be reached in a swift manner, then the hearing goes to trial. At the end of the review or the trial, the judge has one of several options to consider. The judge could dismiss the allegations of fraud, which would mean that the business continues accepting food stamps from customers. The judge could offer a different type of penalty, such as a large fine. Another option would be to agree with the initial decision made and disqualify the business from the food stamp program.
The right for a business to appeal a food stamp review begins before any documents are filed. As soon as the business receives any information regarding fraud, the business needs to gather evidence and support to prove that no fraud has taken place. The business has only 10 days to offer a response to the notification. Any response that is given should be detailed with as many statements from customers and employees as well as other types of evidence that show no fraudulent acts. When all of the information is submitted, a review request can be submitted as long as it’s within 10 days of receiving the notice. After the administrative review, a judicial review can be requested. There are only 30 days allowed to get all of the information ready to present for the review. An appeal can be requested if the business doesn’t agree with the verdict during the review.