Assembly Bill 82, which will help the state prosecute individuals who commit fraud by trafficking FoodShare benefits, was passed in the Legislature on a 73-24 vote on April 16. The bill will go to the Senate for voting.
FoodShare is Wisconsin’s food stamp program, which provides benefits to eligible individuals to help them purchase food. Assembly Bill 82 codifies recently-enacted federal rules that make it a crime to buy, sell, steal, or exchange FoodShare benefits for cash, goods or other consideration.
“Foodshare should be used as additional help for those who truly need it, not as a means for trafficking benefits for one’s benefit,” said Rep. Rob Swearingen, who voted for the bill.
Prosecutors will now be able to obtain more convictions on traffickers at the state level. The Legislative Audit Bureau found 334 incidents during fiscal year 2010-11 in which benefit cards were used for facetious reasons. Instances showed benefit card holders using their card in Wisconsin on the same day that their account numbers were entered manually to make purchases in states not bordering Wisconsin. Some of the offenses found throughout the state include the buying, stealing, selling, or exchange of benefits for cash, goods, and other unlawful purposes.