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Finding and Forestalling Food Stamp Fraud - A Study of the Food Stamp Enforcement Activities of the Office of Inspector General - Investigations

NCJ Number
C P Stover
Date Published
164 pages
A comprehensive description of fraud and abuse in the Federal Food Stamp Program is provided, and the efforts of the Office of Inspector General-Investigations to combat these frauds and abuses are assessed.
The study was conducted by reading selected investigations reports and audits, including a stratified random sample of 125 investigation reports, by computing statistics from data contained in the agency's management information system, by studying internal documents, and by interviewing agents, auditors, supervisors, and managers. Research visits were made to three regional offices and one suboffice in addition to headquarters. The report describes the Food Stamp Program, its vulnerability to fraud and abuse, and typical offenses against the program and how they are investigated. It discusses possible strategies for combatting fraud and abuse in the program, suggests criteria for allocating investigative effort among different classes of offenders, and provides statistics on current allocation of effort, productivity, and results. The concluding sections present a summary assessment of food stamp investigations and offer recommendations for changes to increase the effectiveness of investigations. Recommendations are offered in the areas of investigative priorities and remedies, improving the redemption accounting system, seeking a feasible method to automate recovery of stamps, planning more extensively and thoroughly, improving intelligence, making better use of the automated data processing capabilities of the audit, decentralizing publicity on penalties issued in food stamp cases, and upgrading the Inspector General Management Information System. (Author summary modified)