Monday, April 21 2014 8:03 AM EDT2014-04-21 12:03:48 GMT
One year after a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, turning a day of athletic triumph into one of tragedy, the Boston Marathon returns to the streets Monday.Full Story >
One year after a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, runners started filtering in Monday morning as the sun rose over the...Full Story >
Monday, April 21 2014 7:47 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:47:14 GMT
Thirty years ago, big media companies failed to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings.Full Story >
Thirty years after failing to convince the Supreme Court of the threat posed by home video recordings, big media companies are back and now trying to rein in another technological innovation they say threatens their...Full Story >
Monday, April 21 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:15:05 GMT
Easter sunshine will return for the first part of Monday but during early afternoon clouds will begin to thicken as the next rain-maker heads our way. Full Story >
Any sunshine you see today will be fading behind increasing high- and mid-level clouds. But Meteorologist Steve Norris says that won't stop temperatures from soaring into the upper 70s... Full Story >
By Melissa Correa - bio | email Posted by Terry Alexander - email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Food stamps aren't stamps anymore. Each month an allowance is placed on one a card that is similar to a credit or debit card. They come with enhanced security features. But just as the program has evolved, so has the fraud.
Robin Stufano has logged more hours on the phone, than some of the most talkative teens. She and her partner are the Fraud Unit for Chesterfield County Department of Social Services.
"We've definitely had an increase in the calls," said Robin Stufano. "They're calling in and saying ‘well this person's working at XYZ store and I know that they're getting the benefits.'"
Come up with a story about possible food stamp fraud and chances are she's heard it because in the last five years, the number of participants has jumped from a mere 5,000 to more than 10,000. The number of open fraud investigations is also rising.
"We currently have about 125 open investigations," Stufano said.
Around 25-30 complaints are made weekly. Tips come in from family members, even shoppers, eyeing what they believe is suspicious activity.
"We have to investigate every referral," she said.
But often times, with a check of the state employment database, cases are quickly closed.
"There's a good number of-they just call in and the person isn't even on benefits anymore," said Stufano.
Investigators say they receive a lot of calls -- people confused about what food stamps can be used for. Now they can't be used on paper goods, prepared meals, or beer and cigarettes, but they can be used to buy a wedding cake.
"Just because it's a public assistance benefit doesn't mean that we try to control every decision that a family makes," said Director of Chesterfield Department of Social Services Marsha Sharpe.
Sharpe says S.N.A.P. -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- is just that. Families have the choice on what food is purchased. She says that doesn't sit well with some tax-payers.
"They'll say ‘I saw so-and-so buying such-and-such at the market and I don't believe they should be,'" Sharpe said.
When most people think of food stamp fraud they think of people selling their benefits. But actually, the more popular crime is giving false information. False information can be: not reporting actual income, the number of people in a home, or the county of residence.
"If they try to get benefits in another locality at the same time that they're getting benefits at this locality, they can be barred from the program for 10 years," Stufano said.
And there are two types of trouble: inadvertent household error -- when a person doesn't know information like income, needs to be updated; or fraud. Both require all benefits to be paid back.
If found guilty of fraud, a person must wait one year before re-applying. With a second offense -- wait two years. Three strikes and you're out.
Yet even with boosted participation and complaints, in the last five years, Chesterfield Social Services reports only 105 people have been guilty of fraud. The reason for the low number: intense training for case counselors and added security features for cards -- like a pin number.
In order to qualify for supplemental nutrition assistance you must meet income and household requirements. The Chesterfield Department of Social Services reports food stamps are temporary and most people leave the program after a year.
If you want to know how many cases of food stamp fraud are in your area, click here. We've posted information including the number of convictions and open investigations
Friday, April 11 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-04-11 23:07:05 GMT
Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We’ve gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from March 31 to April 4, 2014.Full Story >
Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We’ve gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from March 31 to April 4, 2014. Full Story >
Thursday, April 10 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-04-10 10:53:05 GMT
A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.Full Story >
WLOX News has uncovered new details about what led investigators to arrest a Long Beach Police officer for three counts of sexual battery involving a minor. A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.Full Story >
Thursday, April 17 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:59:41 GMT
Many families celebrate the Easter season with a traditional egg hunt. The same is true for the Cincinnati Zoo's newest family. The Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla family - one-year-old Gladys, Jomo the silverback,Full Story >
Many families celebrate the Easter season with a traditional egg hunt. The same is true for the Cincinnati Zoo's newest family.Full Story >
Friday, April 18 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:46:03 GMT
Clermont County Sheriffs are investigating after a man was killed in a lawn mower accident on Friday evening. Officers say the incident happened around 7:15 p.m. Friday at in the 1800 block of Route 52. AirFull Story >
Clermont County Sheriffs are investigating after a man was killed in a lawn mower accident on Friday evening.Full Story >