US

Raleigh police make arrest in alleged food stamps for tattoos fraud

Police say a Raleigh, North Carolina tattoo parlor accepted food stamps as payment for tattoo work, according to the Carolina’s WNCN.

Raleigh police arrested Clifford Craig Tittle, the owner of Ink Addiction Tattooz, this week and charged him with buying and distribution of food stamps and conspiracy to obtain property under false pretenses.

Raleigh police discovered early in 2013 that Ink Addiction Tattooz was accepting Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, the vehicle for food stamps, as payment for tattoos, according to WNCN’s review of the warrants.

The Agriculture Department revealed four instances of EBT cards being used for payment at Ink Addiction Tattooz.

According to WNCN’s report, on Sept. 4 two people charged $421 and $417.61 to EBT cards (in addition to cash) for work at Ink Addiction Tattooz.  On Sept. 6 another person charged $413 to their EBT card plus $175 in cash for tattoo work from Tittle. Also on Sept. 6, another person sold Tittle an EBT card worth $570 to Tittle for $215.

In charging Tittle, police had an assist from a confidential informant who, from Sept. 4-11, met with Tittle five times and sold him food stamps twice.  The informant during two of the meetings exchanged EBT benefits for $600 worth of tattoos.

The Agriculture Department has stepped up efforts in recent years to combat food stamp fraud. According to the agency the rate of trafficking has decreased in the last 15 years from four percent to approximately one percent of benefits.

Follow Caroline on Twitter