Partnerships Finding Success Stopping FraudTennessee Department of Human Services is teaming with more law enforcement agencies to catch illegal use of SNAP benefits.
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) recently welcomed its 19th law enforcement partner in an ongoing initiative to fight abuse of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps).
These State Law Enforcement Bureau (SLEB) agreements between the TDHS and agencies give investigators more tools to catch business owners who are fraudulently using another person’s SNAP EBT card for profit or SNAP recipients who are selling their own cards. Under the agreements, investigators have access to purchasing information and actual EBT cards to conduct undercover selling operations.
One SLEB agreement with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department has recently led to three high profile cases against business owners accused of running SNAP fraud operations.
TDHS Inspector General Todd McKinney believes the agreements could additionally be helpful in fighting other community concerns including drug trafficking, stolen property, identity theft, prostitution, and gang activity.
“This program offers law enforcement agencies resources to address crime beyond just SNAP fraud,” said TDHS Inspector General Todd McKinney. “It can be a way in the door to prosecute a variety of problems communities are facing.”
In addition to the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, TDHS has working agreements with the following law enforcement agencies:
· Tipton County Sheriff’s Office
· Chattanooga Police Department,
· Jackson Police Department,
· Metro Nashville Police Department,
· Rutherford County Sheriff's Office,
· Lebanon Police Department,
· Putnam County Sheriff's Department,
· Manchester Police Department,
· 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force,
· Greenbrier Police Department,
· Millersville Police Department,
· Shelby County Sheriff's Office,
· 8th Judicial District Drug Taskforce,
· 9th Judicial Drug Taskforce,
· Memphis City Police,
· Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office,
· Cleveland Police Department, and
· Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office.
TDHS and SLEB Program Coordinator Jeff Troxell are continuing to reach out to other law enforcement agencies with the goal of increasing the number of partnerships across the state.
SNAP provides nutritional assistance benefits to nearly a million people in Tennessee. The program helps supplement the monthly food budgets of families with low-income to buy the food they need, maintain good health and allow them to use more of their income for essential living expenses.
Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.
CONTACT: Sky Arnold