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Former NYC Official Exchanged Food Stamps For Bribes

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Former New York City social services official Harry Fletcher will spend three years behind bars for giving food stamp benefits to ineligible people in exchange for bribes, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“As he admitted in court, Harry Fletcher set up a scheme to receive bribes for providing illegitimate benefits,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a DOJ statement. “By doing so, he didn’t just take advantage of New York City’s social services system, he abused some of the neediest and least fortunate in the city.”

U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy Wednesday sentenced Fletcher in Manhattan federal court for handing $240,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to two landlords and other unnamed participants who in return gave him more than $20,000.

The SNAP recipients — ineligible because they lived outside New York City or earned too much money — also face charges in the scheme that lasted from 2009 to 2013, according to the DOJ.

The DOJ did not elaborate on the status of those charges against the other unnamed individuals, or say whether Fletcher resigned or was fired. (RELATED: Democratic Lawmaker Indicted On Food Stamp Fraud Charges)

Federal taxpayers fund SNAP and local officials administer the benefits.

As an eligibility specialist, Fletcher interviewed SNAP program applicants and reviewed applicants’ documentation to determine their eligibility. He approached the two landlords in 2009, and the landlords recruited other people for the scheme, the DOJ said.

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