Several Texas families allegedly traded their food stamps for gambling money, according to a report released Monday.
KTRK reported Monday that police arrested a man named Charles Miley, of Channelview, on three felony charges for fraudulently obtaining food stamp cards.
Miley also faces an additional charge for running a food stamp fraud scheme out of a gaming room where he allegedly bought food stamp cards from parents for half their value so the parents could use the money to gamble.
“It’s pretty clear to us that he’s getting these cards and giving them cash for the cards at a discounted rate, so that the people can gamble there,” Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen told KTRK shortly after Miley’s arrest.
Police officers who discovered the illegal game room found eight slot machines and a safe containing cash. Officers also found bags of cash elsewhere.
Texas state lawmakers who heard about the report vowed to pass legislation in the Texas statehouse that would bring integrity back to the program and prevent similar cases of food stamp fraud.
State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) is trying to pass a bill— Senate Bill 671— that would require the Texas Health and Human Service Commission to add the names and photographs of food stamp recipients to cut down on potential instances of fraud.
“We’re always talking about running government in a more efficient manner, operating government like a business and constantly looking for ways for efficiencies,” Creighton explained. “Fraud prevention is at the top of my list.”
The bill also has a counterpart in the Texas House co-sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont).
Food stamp fraud schemes like these are quite common in the U.S.
A January 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits had been trafficked each year in the U.S.
But some experts on food stamp fraud acknowledge that number could be much higher.
Kristina Rasmussen, the vice president federal affairs for the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), told Breitbart News in an interview when referencing the report that the amount of fraud in this country “could be a lot higher than that.”