The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a report estimating that 35,891 food retailers around the country engaged in food stamp fraud, illegally “trafficking” more than $1 billion in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits annually over the three-year period from 2012 through 2014.

“Retailer trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits occurs primarily when SNAP recipients sell their benefits for cash to food retailers, often at a discount,” the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service said in a summary of the report.

“SNAP benefits are permitted for the purchase of eligible food items from authorized food retailers,” said the report. “The sale or exchange of SNAP benefits for anything other than food sold by an authorized SNAP retailer is illegal.”

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