Local Scam

Exposing Local Scams in our Community

Buy and Sell Food Stamps in Michigan – Bridge Card Scam

How are companies stealing millions of taxpayers’ dollars committing fraud and violating other USDA regulations daily? Why are companies allowed to publicly continued to operate in direct violation to FNS policy while NO ONE from the Michigan Department of Agriculture or the FNS field office does ANYTHING about it?

Although we hear of corner stores in downtrodden neighborhoods buying food stamps, or selling alcohol to those receiving food stamps – there are companies that actually go to the customer to make it more convenient for them to sell their food stamps.

How they buy food stamps in Michigan

Although I do not have direct written proof of a specific transaction – I’ll share with you what I was told and later discovered how they do it and the rest the rest is up to you. I’ll demonstrate with two companies that I’ve called in my investigation, and was told were well-known to “give the most” in the underground market of buying Michigan bridge cards from those receiving food stamp assistance.

The first company is based in Livonia Michigan, the larger of the two , 313-***-****, and the other,of Burton MI 810-***-****. I was told that some of the drivers for Michigan Gourmet Meat Products even wear the shirts of Market Fresh Meat Company (coincidence?), and I’ve even read even on public forum posts those bragging about how to sell your bridge card for more money but a call I received from a freind with a disabled son who was ripped off and told me that they had never purchased from either of these companies (another story in itself) prompted my initial investigation.

Here’s how it works – you call either number and offer to purchase a case of steaks for $200 – $300 and tell them you would like to use your food stamp card, (which are typically cheaper cuts in 6 boxes with in a bigger box for presentation purposes to make it look like more for cash customers), approximately weights – 20-25lbs of beef, an approximate value of less than $80 sold  for $150 , $200, $300. If you ask them if they buy foods stamps over the phone – they will of course deny it over the phone as it is a felony, just in case it happens to be the State Police or USDA calling.

However – requesting a delivery (refer to their websites) – they are sure to arrive in a timely fashioned. (Because some people get $200 per person in their household – they may get $1000 on the card for five in the household). When the driver arrives, they simply tell them they do not want the meat but offer to sell the balances on the card for a lesser amount – $150 for $200 in benefits, for example, the “customer” then gets $150 cash to do as they please, the driver calls in the $200 transaction and has made an instant profit without selling anything. The driver then takes the case and resells it for anything over his cost making an additional profit. I later spoke to a driver that said he doesn’t commit fraud as he sells the steak for $299 and “throws” in the chicken or seafood for free (avg. cost to the customer of $149.50 each) and then offers to buy it back with cash for less than half price which he says is perfectly legal. Hun?? Confused? So was I…… so you sell someone what you call a steak variety case, then give them chicken and buy the chicken back? Nope – he buys it ALL back – changes their card $299 (at our expense), puts two cases on the receipt (a case of steak and chicken) – and then pays them $100 to $150 cash to get them both back. The “customer” gets the cash, the driver get the difference in whatever his cost is from the company and the selling price that he completes in food stamps using the company’s license and then has TWO cases to sell for whatever he wants. In his mind it’s legal because he sold the product and he’s not responsible for the buyers decision to sell it back for less because they wanted cash? He then sells the two cases for pure profit at whatever amount he wants. (It’s just their new spin on buying food stamp benefits for 50 cents on the dollar while we pay for kids to go hungry)

The sale pitch is always similar, and if bored – simply call one of them and try it out for yourself. They spread out six boxes of steak of various grades and often give and excuse why they have to sell it for cheaper than the suggested retail (usually accompanied by a printed brochure with an inflated price to assist in the scam – showing a few bucks worth of meat for almost $300), then offer to “throw” in a case free with purchase because they’re doing YOU a favor. When asked about the grade, what those strange-sounding preservatives are, and the actual price per pound – they are trained to be evasive. Although I won’t feed the garbage to my family – it was entertaining from a sales background to listen to the pitch and see how they are trained to field objections. Try it but don’t buy it.

While smaller corner stores are under investigation for buying cards for 50 cents on the dollar. Or $50 for $100 in benefits – other companies make a smaller percentage off these initial transactions unless they run across someone desperate to pay a bill, or buy drugs, and have repeat customers all the way from Detroit to Burton. The company denies knowledge of these transactions, and when we called – were told that the drivers were independent contractors and NOT employees to give the company processing the transactions deniability.

We weren’t satisfied, so we later called under the pretext of seeking employment and they explained that the drivers are independent contractors and are free to go where they please, and set their own prices, and as long as they paid for the product they took out on consignment daily – no questions were asked. We then called the Michigan Department of Agriculture and found that, yes, both companies are licensed, even though they simply had pickup trucks with exposed freezers in the back, and later the USDA that is responsible for issuing the specific Bridge Card licensing, and were told that it is a violation to use independent contractors to accept food stamp transactions, and that they had to be employees, like the larger legitimate and better know companies like Schwan’s, or had to be licensed individually. When we called one of the aforementioned companies back to inquire why they were violating these regulations, and how long they thought they were going to get away with it – the response was a dial tone. Busted!!!

If you are appalled, you have a right to be as a tax payer, and especially in these tough economic times when hard-working Americans are struggling, some losing their homes and life’s assets, many out or work and on unemployment, and those that make just enough that they don’t qualify for assistance while the food stamp safety program is exploited by criminals. How hard is it to put an end to this theft and fraud? How hard would it be for the state to put together a “sting” operation to put companies like this out of business and reduce the accessibility to those trying to sell their benefits? Lets’ see, it would take a phone call and a video camera. But wait – many phones now come with a video camera – so I guess it would take a phone.

If you are an outraged taxpayer feel free to comment, link to this article, and post the results of any similar investigations conducted. If you intend to use this article to sell your food stamp benefits – Be aware that it is a FELONY and you face very severe sanctions, and possible incarceration – even if the company’s driver tells you it is legal!

marketfresh**********. com (refer to update)
michigangourmet**** .com  (refer to update)

(If you’re one of the companies or drivers mentioned in this report – feel free to comment – and maybe explain why you violate food stamp program regulations, and hang up on those asking reasonable questions while here.)

If you know anyone that works for an agency that has interest in actually doing something about connecting the dots and enforcing the laws the rest of us have to live by – they can borrow my phone to schedule a delivery.

UPDATE: We removed both the phone numbers and Website links from this post because we found that some were attempting to contact these companies to commit fraud selling their bridge card benefits as you will see in the comments section. If you are aware of those selling or buying food stamps please call

Michigan Department of Agriculture 1-800-292-3939

FNS Field Office 1-888-258-8068

(Ask them why they are doing nothing about Michigan Gourmet Meat Products in Burton MI and all the other “delivery” companies – and allowing them to violate FNS policy by allowing independent contractor drivers that, unlike Schwanns, are not employees to use the company license instead of being licensed individually as required.) ( We appreciate your comments – at the bottom of article after categories, you can also share on Facebook)

At the request of our readers – we will begin listing some of the door to door companies at our blog page DOOR TO DOOR MEAT BUNDLE SCAM !

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May 26, 2011 Posted by | bridge card, buy food stamps, Doo to door, fns, food, food stamp fraud, food stamps, Meat Bundle, Michigan, Michigan bridge card, Michigan food stamps, Seafood Case, sell food stamps, Six Pack, stamps, Steak Bundle, Steak Case, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments