Ohio business under investigation for massive food stamp fraud

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MASSILLON, OH (WCMH) – An Ohio business is under investigation after allegations of more than $8 million in food stamp fraud over six years.

Investigators from the Southern District of Ohio Financial Crimes Task Force say they are investigating Ohio Direct Distributors (ODD) in Massillon.

ODD uses delivery truck drivers to sell and distribute meat and seafood products to door-to-door retail customers throughout Ohio and some neighboring states.

According to court documents, since 2011, the owner of ODD has continually, repeatedly and illegally redeemed SNAP benefits in exchange for ineligible items, such as gift cards. Investigators also said the company illegally extended SNAP EBT account credit by postdating transactions.

According to investigators, the company fraudulently obtained nearly $8.4 million in SNAP redemptions between August 2011 and September 2017.

Investigators noted that during that period of time, ODD averaged $122,609 monthly in SNAP transactions. Comparable food delivery companies averaged $8,206 in SNAP transactions, according to investigators.

According to cantonrep.com, investigators said ODD targeted large families and illegally processed their benefits. ODD “oftentimes completed transactions without the individual recipient’s knowledge or consent,” according to court documents.

The company is also accused of using ‘intimidation tactics’ to ensure that there was an adequate balance for the post-dated transactions.

During the investigation, federal investigators used confidential informants and undercover officers to gather evidence.

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