Video Shows Muslim Woman Buying Soda with Food Stamps-Truth! & Unproven!
Summary of eRumor:
A viral video shows a woman wearing hijab head covering loading a cart load of soda into a car as a man accuses her of using fraudulent food stamps to buy the soda so that it could be re-sold in a convenience store.
The video clearly shows a woman loading soda into the back of a car, and she admits to purchasing it with food stamps — but claims that she illegally obtained the food stamps and planned to re-sell the soda can’t be proven.
The video went viral in early October 2016 after it shared by a Facebook account operated by Vidmax, a said that says it posts “breaking news and hard hitting videos on important subjects such as war, American politics and social issues.”
Within days of being re-posted on Vidmax’s Facebook page, the video of the woman loading soda into her car had been viewed more than 19 million times. The video sparked outrage about SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), racial profiling, religious expression, integration, and other social issues.
The video shows a woman and man loading a cartload of soda into a Lexus with New York registration outside a supermarket. The man recording the video opens by accusing the pair of food stamp fraud, saying, “You take our tax money, then you buy a bunch of pop, then you sell it at a gas station.”
The woman seems to respond, “You don’t now my story, we really don’t own a store…” but it’s hard to make out exactly what she says.
The exchange continues:
Cameraman: They just bought all this pop with food stamps.
Woman: These are our food stamps, you can’t tell me what to do with my card.
Camera Man: It’s fraud.
Woman: How is it fraud? Because I went in there and bought all this pop for myself? That’s stereotyping, you’re saying because I’m Arabian …
Camera Man: I don’t know what you are, I don’t care.
Woman: Ok then, shut the f*ck up.
Camera Man: What’s your name?
Woman: My name is f*ck America.
Camera Man: Then go back to where you came from then.
Woman: Detroit? I was born in Detroit….
The cameraman later says that he’s a lawyer and works for the state. However, because he doesn’t provide his name or a job title, it’s impossible to verify his identity. It’s also impossible to verify his claim that woman purchased the soda using fraudulent EBT cards and plans to re-sell it based solely on the video.
There have been a number of credible reports of similar EBT scams being committed in recent years, however. In 2016, a Worcester woman named Vida Ofori Causey was sentenced to a year in prison for committing $3.6 million in food stamp fraud, according to a Department of Justice release:
Causey was the owner and operator of J&W Aseda Plaza, a convenience store on Main Street in Worcester. From April 2010 to October 2014, Causey conspired with others to commit SNAP fraud by purchasing SNAP benefits from recipients rather than exchanging them for food. Causey purchased the benefits at a discounted value of approximately fifty cents for every SNAP dollar. By so doing, Causey caused the USDA to electronically deposit into a bank account she controlled the full face value of the SNAP benefits fraudulently obtained. To provide customers with cash for the SNAP benefits, Causey used the cash she received from customers wishing to utilize MoneyGram services. In order to cover those transactions, she transferred money from the account where her SNAP funds were electronically deposited into the account she used for her MoneyGram business.
Then, in August 2016, the owner of a Bufallo, New York, deli was held on $2 million bail on accusations that he carried out a similar scam, an ABC affiliate reports:
Ahmed Alshami, 37, is charged with criminal possession of public benefit cards, misuse of food stamps and criminal use of a public benefit card for defrauding the welfare system.
Alshami is the owner and operator of IGA Express Mart, a corner deli at 271 Ludington in the City of Buffalo.
According to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, between October 9, 2014 and March 21, 2016 Alshami is accused of buying EBT (food stamp) cards from people willing to trade them for cash. He usually paid people half of what the cards are worth.
So, these types of food stamp frauds do exist — we just can’t prove that the woman capture in the video was committing it based only on the video evidence. We’ll update this report with any new developments.