SNAP Trafficking Charge Letter

Overview of USDA/FNS Charge Letter Response and Appeal

SNAP Trafficking charge letter act as the official notification from the USDA FNS (United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service) to a SNAP retailer. It will indicate the nature of the trafficking violations, the time-frame to respond, which is incredibly short, and the type of penalties to be imposed. In addition to the discussion to follow ther is a SNAP trafficking charge letter overview presentation provided below.

SNAP trafficking charge letter refers to the most severe prohibited act a SNAP retailer can make – trafficking SNAP benefits. Trafficking refers to the exchange of SNAP or EBT benefits for non-eligible items like tobacco, alcohol, or money. It can also allege trafficking for the exchange of credit – buying eligible items, but paying later when SNAP benefits are renewed.

There are several ways for a SNAP trafficking charge letter to originate. In some cases undercover informants are hired by FNS to solicit a SNAP retailer for items like cash or tobacco. In such a case the informant makes a sworn statement that is provided along with the SNAP trafficking charge letter. More often an audit is conducted to determine if there are (a) unusually large transactions (b) transactions to rapid to be credible, (c) transactions that exhaust beneficiary’s benefits or (d) rounded or even figure transactions. If an audit finds one or more of this type of activity it infers that trafficking must have occurred.

SNAP trafficking charge letter presents one of two penalties. Disqualification is the most severe penalty. There are two types – permanent and temporary. Temporary is less common and only avoidable under narrow circumstances. Permanent disqualification results in a total loss of a retailer’s SNAP benefits and could even impact the sale of the store. Although the two types vary

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Marc is dedicated to helping his clients navigate the complex world of FDA and USDA legislation. He represents FDA-regulated companies in the food, dietary supplement, beverage, cosmetic, medical device, and drug industries.

Marc is the author of two textbooks and a lecturer at Northeastern University. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and the D.C. Bar Association.

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