Would you be willing to exchange $86.79 for $24?

A pair of men at the Shaw’s supermarket on Main Street did just that on a recent Tuesday morning as they engaged in a food stamp scam funded by U.S. taxpayers.

After purchasing a reported 20 24-packs of bottled water, on sale that week for $2.99 a case before taxes and redemption fees were added, the men went behind the store to the loading dock and poured the contents of each bottle on the ground. Shortly thereafter, a reporter also witnessed the pair wheel their shopping cart into the vestibule of the store, feed the 480 bottles into a redemption machine and claim their cash value at the customer service counter.

In a ploy a number of the store’s employees describe as common, these men had found a way to turn their funds from the federally administered Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, into cold, hard cash, which can then be used to purchase items that do not meet the program’s guidelines. By doing so, they have poured tax dollars down the drain. And while Congress has outlawed the practice, change has been slow to come as the penalties for those found in violation have yet to be determined.

Bangor food stamp scam dumps water for deposit - Bangor Daily News