- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Authorities say they’ve busted a massive food stamp card fraud operation in the Birmingham area.

Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls told Al.com (http://bit.ly/1BKHYlW) Wednesday that owners of several local convenience stores had been buying EBT cards from benefit recipients at half the cost of the value that had been added to their cards.

Authorities say the store owners would then buy goods from wholesalers with the food stamp cards and resell the items in their stores at inflated prices. Investigators said many of the stores were located in food deserts - low-income areas with limited or no transportation, where residents have few grocery shopping options.

Authorities say 17 suspects have been taken into custody.

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Information from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews

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