Operation Money Tree: More than 60 people face arrest for public assistance fraud, PBSO says

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - More than sixty people face arrest after a two-year investigation of public assistance fraud, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation began when a grandmother called police after the father of her granddaughter traded in his food stamp card instead of using it to buy groceries for her granddaughter, the sheriff's office said.

Detectives ended up issuing arrest warrants for more than 60 people whom they say defrauded the government out of 2.8 million dollars.
 
How it worked

Detectives say the suspects would take their electronic food stamp cards into a small mom and pop grocery store in Palm Springs.

Instead of buying groceries,  the clerks would give them cash and save 50 percent of  the profits for themselves.

If a person asked for 100 bucks the clerk would charge 150 to the card, give them the cash and they'd walk out without buying a thing.

"Well, here's a news flash for you. We aren't going to bark a lot but we are going to bite and bite hard. I'm going to bite them in the butt as far as I can and take everything that we got from them to teach them a lesson that this is not going to be tolerated," Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said.

The sheriff's office issued 61 arrest warrants Monday - and 24 people have already been arrested and now face federal charges.
 


 

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