PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island lawmaker wants to make it a felony to buy or sell food assistance cards.
Rep. Arthur Corvese said Friday that his bill would punish people who attempt to commit food assistance fraud with up to five years in prison.
The North Providence Democrat said the law would help ensure the effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
Under Corvese’s proposal, any SNAP recipient who is convicted of selling their benefits for cash would be disqualified from receiving food assistance for five years following their sentence.
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s office says this type of crime is currently either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the amount of money in question.
Food assistance fraud is also prohibited by federal law.