An investigator in charge of weeding out food stamp fraud in Mississippi is accused of carrying out fraud schemes like the ones he was supposed to stop.
Frank Saddler, who used to work as the director of special investigations for the Mississippi Department of Human Services, allegedly bilked money from convenience store owners who committed food stamp fraud between 2012 and 2014, Mississippi Today reported Tuesday.
Authorities charged Saddler Thursday with extorting money from the food stamp traffickers he was tasked with investigating. Saddler would often investigate schemes where convenience store owners would allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to exchange their benefits for cash or purchase items not allowed to be purchased with food stamps, such as cigarettes and alcohol.
Shopkeepers would then transfer the excess cash to their bank accounts.
“If they run an EBT card for $130 in their business, that retailer will give the client $70 to $80 in cash and the rest will go into his bank account,” Saddler told WAPT in 2012. “It’s a very big problem, and it seems to be getting bigger at times.”
If convicted, Saddler could face up to 20 years behind bars and be required to pay a $250,000 fine plus the money obtained from the scheme, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
“There is almost nothing more corrosive to our democratic form of government than one who abuses his position of authority and public trust,” U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said. “Prosecuting public corruption is a priority of this U.S. Attorney’s Office, and those who abuse their power should be on notice that they will be held to account by this Justice Department.”