This article is over 7 years old


Fraudulent Food Stamp Crackdown

Four people are indicted for illegally cashing in on the food stamp program


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

Harris County DA Devon Anderson
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson

It appears that some people on food stamps are turning the government handout into a way to make some quick cash.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson says Department of Agriculture agents have found dozens of stores that are trafficking in food stamps, also known as SNAP EBT cards.

“Instead of providing food, these stores are exchanging the benefits on SNAP cards for cash, usually paying only 50-percent of the value of the benefits on the SNAP card. For example, if a customer brings in a card that has $300 dollars of benefits on it, the store will give them $150 dollars in cash,” said Anderson.

This means that the stores obtained the full value of the SNAP card, while the food stamp beneficiary only received half of the value of the card.

“While many Texans rely on food stamp benefits for survival, there are those who are exchanging their benefits for cash in order to buy alcohol, cigarettes, or illegal drugs. This has got to stop,” said Anderson.

SNAP violators
The four people indicted by the USDA: Allen Nguyen, Loan Lai, Arvind Patel and Roshni Patel

Anderson says an investigation by the USDA resulted in the indictment of four people: Allen Nguyen, Loan Lai, Arvind Patel and Roshni Patel.

“These four individuals abused the system by giving cash in exchange for food stamp benefits. The USDA is actively investigating more stores, and we expect several indictments in the coming weeks,” said Anderson.

If convicted, all four defendants face up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required