crimesider

Hard Up: Food Stamps Buy Viagra, Porno, Booze, Say Feds

(AP)
DETROIT (CBS/AP) "Viva Viagra" is right!

While you won't see this scene in one of those ever-present television commercials, federal prosecutors say they've busted up a Viagra-for-food stamps scam run by a liquor store in the Wolverine State.

Talk about being hard up.

Authorities charge that confidential informants were able to swap food stamps for Viagra, painkillers, booze and porno.

Federal prosecutors, pretty sure that this was not the intention of the social services program, filed fraud charges this week against three people who worked at Jefferson's Liquor Palace in the Motor City.

The alleged scheme typically worked this way: Food stamp recipients would get cash from the store in exchange for swiping larger amounts off their electronic cards. The store would then be fully reimbursed by the U.S. Agriculture Department, unaware the program was being abused.

In some transactions, the confidential informants got more than just cash. The government says the store provided Viagra, painkillers, liquor, and porn videos in exchange for swiping about $2,000 off food stamp cards.

The government says overall fraud at the store topped $130,000 over 2½ years.

The store is closed.
  • Ryan Smith

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