Preying On Desperate Bucs Fans

March 19th, 2010

These are tough times we live in around the Tampa Bay area.

The troubling unemployment rate has surged into the mid-teens.

People are having trouble paying their bloated mortgages.

Many are losing their homes.

When times grow tough, it seems con artists come out of the woodwork.

So it unnerved Joe that an alleged scumbag in Tampa actually sunk to the level of taking advantage of some poor soul in dire straights by selling Bucs T-shirts for a food stamp debit card, so reports Josh Poltilove of the Tampa Tribune.

FDLE officials targeted 30 stores statewide they believed were misusing the system to profit from Electronic Benefit Transfer sales. The department made arrests at half those stores.

During the operation, undercover officers would visit a retailer – typically a gas station, convenience store or grocery store – and use the food stamp debit card to either get cash back or to buy prohibited items like alcohol or cigarettes. One Tampa business even sold an undercover investigator Tampa Bay Buccaneers T-shirts.

The food stamp program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The department estimated the 15 stores where arrests were made were responsible for $3.5 million in food stamp fraud in the last year.

Joe doesn’t know what to think is worse: That a sleazebag would take food stamps from a citizen struggling so terribly in exchange for cash, smokes or beer, or that someone would be so desperate as to pass up putting food on the table in order to buy a Bucs T-shirt?

Talk about someone being hungry for football!

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