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OK DHS investigates food stamp allegation


LAWTON, Okla. - Workers at a Lawton grocery store grew suspicious of a woman who spent $90 in food stamps on individually wrapped ice cream products. That by itself may not seem wrong, but workers say she bought the ice cream to resell it from an ice cream truck.

While the ice cream was never confirmed to be resold, Oklahoma DHS officials say that it is not against the law.  Food stamp fraud is something DHS does not take lightly. The state even has a special team of investigators to look into the claims, including one made against a woman accused of making a profit by reselling ice cream purchased with food stamps.

"On the surface I do understand people would look at that situation and think that is an illegal action that's taken place, however the Office of Inspector General has looked at this thoroughly, consulted all of the outside experts that they need to consult, and they've reviewed it and determined that no law has been broken," Mary Leaver of the Oklahoma DHS.

DHS does not make the rules; they only follow guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Leaver says it is illegal to barter food stamps, but reselling food items is not bartering. People must however report the money they make off the sales.  

"Criminal action could take place if this individual does not report that additional income to their worker."

Which Leaver says in turn, could lower the person's monthly food stamp benefits.

Fraud or in this case no fraud, Leaver wants the public to know the office of inspector general is on top these allegations.

"They are working everyday to try and catch people who are still attempting to defraud the system so that is why they keep a close eye on these types of reports."

The woman accused of reselling the ice cream was contacted. She said she bought the bulk amount for her kids to eat. Workers at the store are not buying her story.

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