Food stamps swapped for booze, Viagra

October 12, 2009 7:48:18 AM PDT
Viagra and pornography are not staples on the government's food stamp list. But authorities say a Detroit liquor store supplied them during a series of illegal deals. Federal prosecutors filed fraud charges this week against three people who worked at Jefferson's Liquor Palace.

The alleged scheme worked this way: Food stamp recipients would get cash from the store in exchange for swiping larger amounts off their electronic cards. The store would then be reimbursed by the U.S. Agriculture Department.

And in some transactions, the government says the store provided informants Viagra, liquor and porn in exchange for swiping about $2,000 off food stamp cards.

The government says fraud at the store topped $130,000 over 2 1/2 years. The store is closed.

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