Want to trade EBT card for marijuana? You may land in jail
Submitted by Mindy Chambers DSHS Media Relations Manager
Note to would-be food benefits traffickers.
You’re being watched.
In early February, Puyallup police arrested a Tacoma man after investigators with the Department of Social and Health Services’ Office of Fraud and Accountability saw a social media post offering to trade “great organic” marijuana “for EBT vehicles electronics” (sic).
The investigators notified Puyallup law enforcement, which set up an exchange of an EBT card for the marijuana and made the arrest on February 2. Martin Alan Dorr, 28, is being held in the Pierce County Jail on two felony charges: unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and food benefit trafficking.
Washington is a national leader in ferreting out individuals using social media to commit benefits fraud. Because of its ground-breaking work, the Fraud and Accountability Office received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2014 to hire additional investigators and carry out on-line sting operations. Video of a previous arrest can be downloaded here.
Food benefits fraud costs Washington taxpayers an estimated $11 million a year.
“As social media evolves, fraudsters do too,” Office of Fraud and Accountability Senior Director Steve Lowe said. “It is so important that we keep up with them to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected. This should send a message to potential traffickers that they will be caught.”