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Government Partnership Leads to More Fraud Investigations

Arrests this week are among the roughly three dozen cases of illegal SNAP benefit use prosecuted in Knox County.
Friday, March 08, 2019 | 02:44pm

KNOXVILLE – The partnership between the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office added two more arrests Thursday to its campaign against the abuse of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Those arrests involve two men accused of illegally buying SNAP EBT cards at half of their value and using them to purchase food for one of the Green Grocery locations in Knox County.

This case is one of roughly three dozen SNAP abuse investigations the Knox County Sheriff’s Office has begun since signing a State Law Enforcement Bureau (SLEB) agreement with the TDHS. Under the agreements, investigators have access to purchasing information and actual EBT cards to conduct undercover selling operations.

“The partnership we have with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is a model example for how these SLEB agreements can work,” said TDHS Inspector General Todd McKinney.  “Working in partnership we can not only catch the abuse of our programs we can also help fight other community concerns including stolen property, drug trafficking, and identity theft.”

“Our Organized Retail Crime Unit works diligently to detect cases of fraud such as this,” said Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler. “I believe in agencies cooperating with one another in a proactive approach to not only fight crime but prevent it.”

In addition to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, TDHS has working agreements with the following law enforcement agencies:

·         Tipton County Sheriff’s Office.

·         Chattanooga Police Department.

·         Jackson Police Department.

·         Metro Nashville Police Department.

·         Rutherford County Sheriff's Office.

·         Lebanon Police Department.

·         Putnam County Sheriff's Department.

·         Manchester Police Department.

·         18th Judicial District Drug Task Force.

·         Greenbrier Police Department.

·         Millersville Police Department.

·         Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

·         8th Judicial District Drug Taskforce.

·         9th Judicial Drug Taskforce.

·         Memphis City Police.

·         Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

·         Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

·         Cleveland Police Department.

·         Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office.

·         Pigeon Forge Police Department.

·         Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.

·         Clarksville Police Department.

·         Crossville Police Department.

TDHS continues to reach out to other law enforcement agencies with the goal of increasing the number of partnerships across the state.

SNAP provides nutritional assistance benefits to nearly a million people in Tennessee. The program helps supplement the monthly food budgets of families with low-income to buy the food they need, maintain good health and allow them to use more of their income for essential living expenses.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.   

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