What do an Iranian millionaire, a state senator, a drug dealer and a polygamist have in common? They all face charges of misusing food stamps this year.
Around 44 million people received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also called food stamps, in 2016. The whole program cost about $70 billion.
Only one cent of each dollar is spent fraudulently, according to the most recent available data from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), which manages the program. Still, that’s about $700 million dollars of federal taxpayer money that was likely wasted this past year.
Here are few of the strangest cases of food stamp fraud in 2016.