A multi-agency task force conducted an investigation leading to the identification of four people who work at Dollar Dayz general store located at 1602 West Buckeye Road in Phoenix for Illegally Conducting an Enterprise, Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, Money Laundering, Unlawful Use of Food Stamps and Computer Tampering.
The investigation comes after months of a coordinated undercover operation involving the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of the Inspector General (USDA OIG), Phoenix Police Department (PD), the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Office of Special Investigations.
At 12 p.m., a Special Assignment Unit of the Phoenix PD made entry into the Dollar Dayz general store, securing it and allowing search warrants to be served so that criminal and civil evidence could be gathered. Examples of evidence include cash, bank records, extraneous food stamp cards, and businessledgers.
In this case, it is alleged that on multiple occasions the store provided cash to individuals in exchange for SNAP (food stamp) benefits in fraudulent transactions during the course of the investigation. Preliminary data from USDA estimates fraud against the SNAP program exceeded $700,000 from this store location alone since 2010.
Pursuant to the federal Food and Nutrition Service (SNAP), card recipients are permitted to use benefits only for eligible food items. By law, SNAP benefits cannot be exchanged or redeemed for cash. In a typical criminal transaction, the seller receives a portion of the value of the card in cash and the buyer, in this case the store-owner, removes the benefits from the card through sham transactions.
Director Clarence H. Carter said, “Unfortunately, there are those in our society who deliberately act to defraud the very system of benefits, goods and services intended to help the people most in need in our community. But with cooperation from local, state and federal officials, we are building and maintaining an agency-wide system of tools and controls that, combined with rigorous enforcement, will help us to ensure that these precious resources are reserved for those who are intended to receive them and used for their appropriate purposes.”
“The success of this investigation is a result of collaboration and teamwork with our established partners from multiple agencies,” said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia. “I believe this investigation will have an immediate positive affect on the citizens of Phoenix and in particular the South Mountain Precinct. We will continue to target criminals, criminal behavior and locations where crime occurs.”