SPANAWAY, Wash. Iowa Steak Co. says it is cooperating with federal authorities in an investigation into alleged food stamp fraud.

We have had food stamps for 13 years, and this is the first time there has been a mar period in our food stamp program, said Dennis Romaneski, the manager at the operations Spanaway distribution center.

Obviously we are going to look into it, but we have to know what we are looking into first, Romaneski said Friday night, 24 hours after agents raided the business.

Evidence used to secure the search warrant of Iowa Steak s trucks and offices, accuses some of mobile food distributor s employees of trading government benefits for cash, instead of food.

Investigators set up a sting, where they were able to get cash in return for having an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card debited as if it was a legitimate transaction. In one case $450 was drawn from an EBT card, in return $50 was wired to the undercover agent.

The company says the target of the probe appears to be two former employees, let go months back, but not for improprieties surrounding EBT transactions.

Every company has a couple of bad seeds, Romaneski said, adding, unfortunately this goes to the federal level, and when these guys have their day in court they can explain what happened.

No charges have been filed since the Thursday raid, first reported on by the KING 5 Investigators.
In one of the alleged incidents of fraud, investigators claim one Iowa Steak employee openly boasted about how much money he was making off of the questionable transactions.

No Bull__, I buy EBT for fifty cents on the dollar all day long., an employee is quoted in court papers as saying. I make an extra$2,500 a month doing that, he is quoted as saying.

Since late last year, the Obama administration has been conducting a crack down on fraud in the nation s $75 billion dollar a year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP , the modern day food stamp program.

Government estimates are $750 million a year is lost to fraud, waste, and abuse of SNAP benefits.

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