Food stamp fraud

Food stamp fraud

OKLAHOMA CITY -

This is part one in a special two-part investigation into the fraud committed against the State of Oklahoma. Click here to see part two.

Hundreds of dollars in junk food and soda purchased with a tax-payer funded program went to stock a convenience store's shelves as part of a massive scheme to defraud Oklahoma.  That fraud led to criminal charges when investigators with the Department of Human Services' Office of Inspector General found out about the illegal activity.

Prosecutors charged Saiham Sadiq with fraud after undercover cameras captured illegal food stamp transactions at the SQ Trip on Northwest 23 in Oklahoma City.  Agents sold food stamps for $0.50 on the dollar at the SQ Trip.  Sometimes the agents were able to purchase synthetic marijuana.  One undercover video shows Sadiq taking the agent on a shopping trip.  Sadiq instructs her to purchase sodas, cotton candy, chips and other food.  The groceries were then loaded up into a private vehicle and driven back SQ Trip where investigators say it was resold.

"Food stamp trafficking and food stamp fraud in general is somewhat of a problem in Oklahoma," said Keck Upchurch the Special Agent in Charge of the Food Stamp Trafficking Unit at the DHS Office of Inspector General.

Upchurch says most of the time food stamps are sold for cash or drugs.  Investigators rely on tips and computer analysis to identify potential fraud.  If you would like to submit a tip about food stamp fraud, click here.  Many investigators focus on retailers offering to illegally purchase food stamps.

"If you focus on the retailer," Upchurch told Fox 25, "The data will lead you to all the recipients that are conducting those illegal transactions at that store."

The ultimate goal of food stamp fraud investigations is not necessarily to send people to prison.  Investigators say they want to get the money stolen from taxpayers back into the system.  "When these individuals defraud the system, then those moneys need to be paid back to the food stamp program because that program is for individuals that are in need," Upchurch said.

In the SQ Trip case, Sadiq ultimately pleaded guilty.  He paid the state back $25,000, which investigators say is just a fraction of what the family ultimately took from the state.  Another member of the family is currently facing charges for illegally possessing benefit cards as a result of that investigation.  Her case has not been settled.

Food stamp fraud it just one of the investigations worked by the DHS Office of Inspector General.  Click here to learn more about other investigations and how lawmakers are working to make changes in hopes of reducing the amount of fraud in the system.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Attorney General Eric Holder cancels appearance at OKCPD graduation

    Attorney General Eric Holder cancels appearance at OKCPD graduation

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:12 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:12:40 GMT
    Amid promises of protest, United States Attorney General Eric Holder canceled his planned appearance Thursday in front of graduating recruits at the Oklahoma City Police Department.
    Amid promises of protest, United States Attorney General Eric Holder canceled his planned appearance Thursday in front of graduating recruits at the Oklahoma City Police Department.
  • Man critically injured after behind hit by car in Moore

    Man critically injured after behind hit by car in Moore

    Thursday, April 24 2014 8:19 AM EDT2014-04-24 12:19:33 GMT
    Moore police investigate after man hit by carMoore police investigate after man hit by car
    Police are investigating after a man was critically injured after being hit by a car early Thursday morning.
    Police are investigating after a man was critically injured after being hit by a car early Thursday morning.
  • Oklahoma teens avoid law, risk serious consequences with tattoos

    Oklahoma teens avoid law, risk serious consequences with tattoos

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:00 AM EDT2014-04-24 09:00:33 GMT
    Back in 2006, Oklahoma became the last state to legalize tattoo parlors, but teens are still not allowed to get inked. That's not stopping many young people, sometimes finding themselves in dangerous situations simply because they can't wait a few months or years to get tattooed legally.
    Back in 2006, Oklahoma became the last state to legalize tattoo parlors, but teens are still not allowed to get inked. That's not stopping many young people, sometimes finding themselves in dangerous situations simply because they can't wait a few months or years to get tattooed legally.
  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Michigan man among first in US to receive 'bionic eye'

    Michigan man among first in US to receive 'bionic eye'

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:04:34 GMT
    In this April 16, 2014 image from video Roger Pontz wears special glasses that house a small video camera and transmitter at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center on April 16, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo)In this April 16, 2014 image from video Roger Pontz wears special glasses that house a small video camera and transmitter at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center on April 16, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo)
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.

    Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a "bionic eye," he's regained enough of his eyesight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.

    Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a "bionic eye," he's regained enough of his eyesight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.
  • Texas teacher accused of taking away second grader's bible during reading time

    Texas teacher accused of taking away second grader's bible during reading time

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:10 AM EDT2014-04-24 09:10:57 GMT
    A Houston area school teacher is being accused of telling an elementary school student she can't read the Bible in school and is not even allowed to bring the Bible to school.
    A Houston area school teacher is being accused of telling an elementary school student she can't read the Bible in school and is not even allowed to bring the Bible to school.
  • Tools track kids' phone use

    Tools track kids' phone use

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:40 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:40:03 GMT
    Apps keep tabs on teensApps keep tabs on teens
    With so many teens and kids armed with smartphones, parents can often feel out of the loop and maybe even nervous about how their kids are using those devices. There are now more ways than ever before for parents to keep tabs. We asked the folks at Verizon to break down the best options. Lawrence Ross said, "With Family Base you can see who your children are talking to, when they're talking to them." At $5 a month, Family Base gives you alerts and email updates on exactly how your kids are ...
    With so many teens and kids armed with smartphones, parents can often feel out of the loop and maybe even nervous about how their kids are using those devices. There are now more ways than ever before for parents to keep tabs. We asked the folks at Verizon to break down the best options. Lawrence Ross said, "With Family Base you can see who your children are talking to, when they're talking to them." At $5 a month, Family Base gives you alerts and email updates on exactly how your kids are ...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.