Illegal Migrant Admits To Stealing $200k in Food Stamps

( An illegal immigrant has admitted to fraud in stealing $213,000 in SNAP food stamp benefits.

Giomar Lopez Meireles is a citizen of the Dominican Republic and has been living illegally in the United States. He obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Rhode Island. Meireles also was illegally in possession of a gun at the time of his arrest.

Meireles stole identities and social security numbers to obtain SNAP benefits which he later sold for cash. The scheme took place between September 2021 and November 2023 when his apartment was raided. Authorities found dozens of food stamp cards that included account and pin numbers. Along with the EBT cards, a 9 mm pistol was found. Illegal immigrants do not have the right to have possession of a firearm. Meireles pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on September 4.

Food stamp theft is common as reports from several states found millions of dollars of SNAP benefit theft. $4.5 million was stolen from the Illinois SNAP food program over a six month period. Devices can be illegally attached to credit card readers to obtain the card information that can later be sold for profit.

Between June and February, Ohio paid out $1 million to about 2,500 victims of food stamp theft. An Ohio public service employee said there are “criminal enterprises” that work on schemes to deprive citizens of their SNAP benefits. Maryland has seen $26 million in SNAP benefits fraud activity and reportedly has the second highest amount stolen from the SNAP benefit program.

Maryland legislators are considering a bill that would limit the amount of SNAP benefits paid out by the state. SNAP benefits would be subject to the limitations of the state budget. This means that the state may not reimburse victims of SNAP benefits fraud if they find that the state budget doesn’t allow for those reimbursements.

Copyright 2024,