Retailer monitoring recovers more than $280,000 in first half of fiscal year 2024

After six months, the OIG's Electronic Benefits Transfer Trafficking Unit completed 175 cases, resulting in $280,302 in recoveries from retailers participating in the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Vendors can face administrative disqualification from the program or prosecution for attempting to defraud the state. Often, this scam involves program clients who sell their benefits to a small store or restaurant for less than their value. The retailer provides cash to the client and uses SNAP funds to purchase stock or inventory for their business.

Recently, a new trend has arisen in some boarding and group homes that require clients to turn over Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, which are used to purchase items for the facility illegally. Some reports indicate that the facility will refuse to return the card to clients when requested. The OIG is working with state and local law enforcement in these investigations. Retailers wanting to learn more about accepting EBT benefits in Texas can visit Lone Star Operating Rules.

The OIG also reviews retailers participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). In the first half of fiscal year 2024, the WIC Vendor Monitoring Unit maintained program integrity by conducting 146 compliance buys, a covert investigation to determine whether vendors followed all program rules. No vendors received citations during these investigations.

The WIC program also conducted 113 overt on-site inspections, which worked with the retailer to identify areas of non-compliance, and 33 inventory reviews to verify vendors had sufficient inventory compared to their submitted reimbursement claims. Retailers wanting to learn about WIC compliance measures can visit the Vendor Monitoring Guide