A common stereotype holds that most people who defraud the food stamp program are black, Hispanic, or some other minority. Most recipients, however, are white. According to the USDA, in 2013 40 percent of food stamp recipients were white, while 26 percent were black and 10 percent were Hispanic.
Recently, 30 people in Bruxton, New York, were arrested for food stamp fraud. The arrests were the result of a year-long investigation begun by the Franklin County Department of Social Services Fraud Unit. The United States Department of Agriculture, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office also worked on the investigation.
Over a period of several months, people were seen spending their food stamps on food or alcohol at the Old Time Butcher Block store. According to police, it’s not the first time that the store’s owner, Dennis Sauve, has been charged with allowing his neighbors to commit fraud.
He has therefore been charged with misuse of food stamps and third-degree grand larceny. As per the rules, alcohol is not a food and therefore can’t be bought with food stamps. Stores have to have a permit in order to accept food stamps, and their owners have to agree to abide by the rules or lose their permit.
As Sauve is a repeat offender, he probably no longer has a permit. Bruxton is a small town with a population of 480, and black people make up less than one percent of the population. That means maybe five of the people in Bruxton are black — if that many. The vast majority of Bruxton’s citizens are white. That means, contrary to the streeotypes, all of the fraudsters are white.