Nearly 200 arrested in Florida undercover investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida state and local authorities say they have arrested nearly 200 people as part of an undercover food stamp fraud investigation.

Authorities in Jacksonville created fake businesses where electronic cards issued to food stamp beneficiaries were used for phony food purchases or swapping benefits for cash at a rate of .50 cents on the dollar.

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office said on Tuesday that during a six-month period, undercover detectives conducted approximately 390 transactions and met with more than 130 people. Bondi called it “shameful” that people were taking advantage of a program designed to aid those in need of help.

The investigation resulted in felony charges against more than 115 individuals and misdemeanors against 61 other people. The investigation included local, state and federal agencies.

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