It’s business as usual and you’re serving your customers. One day, a charge letter arrives, and the USDA accuses you of “trafficking.”

This is what the USDA calls the buying or selling unauthorized food items or trading SNAP benefits for cash. You must act quickly, as you only have TEN DAYS to respond to the charge letter. Remember, the government can permanently disqualify your business from receiving SNAP benefits, even after a first offense.

If your business received a letter threatening SNAP disqualification, you should take it seriously and consult an experienced SNAP violation lawyer.

There are Alternatives to Disqualifications

There are other remedies the government will not tell you about upfront, but you’ll find them buried in books of regulations.

The USDA may impose a Civil Money Penalty, known as a CMP, in lieu of permanent disqualification for trafficking? This means you could settle with the government by paying a fine and getting back to business as usual.

CMP Can Be a Complex Process

The CMP must be requested within 10 calendar days of receiving a charge letter from the USDA and they will not give you more time. If you miss your ten-day window to respond or your answer is not sufficient, the USDA can permanently disqualify your business from receiving SNAP EBT benefits.

You must prove FOUR criteria to qualify for a CMP:

  • Your business had an effective compliance policy (rules) in place.
  • Your compliance policy was in effect PRIOR to the violations.
  • Your business conducted employee training related to SNAP and EBT and you have the documentation to prove it.
  • Proof that you were not aware of supposed trafficking, you didn’t approve of it, and you didn’t personally benefit from any fraudulent activity.

Is There Evidence of SNAP Fraud?

Did any wrongdoing even occur? Was this an employee or a customer breaking the rules? The government must still meet its burden of proof. Did they conduct a proper Inventory Audit, cross-checked with your Minimum Inventory Requirements? Can they identify the employee who engaged in the trafficking?

Even if the government agrees to accept a CMP in lieu of permanent disqualification, time is of the essence.

You have 30 days to pay the fine or a permanent disqualification will be issued. How much the fine will cost you is based on complicated formulas buried in SNAP regulations.

Get Legal Help to Handle SNAP Issues Correctly

The government is threatening adverse action against your business. You need to do more than just research websites or ask friends for advice. You can lose everything you’ve worked for!

Don’t do this alone!

Call Fienman Defense.

We have helped many clients in your position. Our firm will advocate for you and your business. We will gather evidence and demand answers from the government. We’ll draft a custom response to your charge letter where we will list your responses to the four criteria. We will hold the USDA accountable for meeting its burden of proof.

You need an experienced SNAP benefits attorney who understands how the government works. Let us stand up for your rights today!

Contact Fienman Defense for a free consultation. Call (215) 839-9529 or contact us online.

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