The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) partners with state law enforcement agencies to help investigate SNAP fraud.
Press Secretary Sky Arnold said the department has agreements in place with three Upper Cumberland law enforcement agencies to assist in fraud investigations when needed.
“Essentially, these agreements allow us to provide actual EBT cards to use in undercover investigations, or we can provide purchasing information to these law enforcement entities,” Arnold said. “We believe these are two really key tools that have proven useful in recent investigations.”
The agreement known as the State Law Enforcement Bureau (SLEB) helped nab two men in Knox County for illegally buying SNAP cards at half their value to purchase food for a grocery store.
Arnold said most cases aren’t as extreme as the one from Knox County but still remains prevalent across Tennessee.
“SNAP fraud definitely is something we take very seriously all across the state,” Arnold said. “Individuals found to be abusing their benefits, they could lose them and they could even face criminal prosecution. We have no tolerance, zero tolerance, for fraud and we ask the public to alert us if they become aware of any such fraud.”
DHS currently partners with 23 agencies across the state to combat SNAP fraud, including the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, and Crossville Police Department.