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Wisconsin man uses food stamp card, identity theft charges follow

A Wisconsin man lost his girlfriend to cancer. The two had been planning to get married and start a family with the woman's children. But a few weeks after her death, the man was arrested this week and charged with identity theft because he had used her food stamp card to purchase food.

Being charged with a white collar crime can result in serious penalties. Whether the charge is for identity theft, credit card fraud, or even extortion, those charged will likely deal with severe consequences if they are convicted of the crime. For this Wisconsin man, a conviction could mean several years in prison.

In Wisconsin, food stamp cards can only be used by the individual to whom the card was issued. In some situations, the card can be used by another individual if the card holder authorizes that individual and an application has been submitted. If not, an unauthorized card user could suffer consequences.

But in this situation, the Wisconsin man had been permitted by his girlfriend to use the card. In the time before her death, she suffered from cancer and was too sick to go to the store on her own. After her death, the man intended to use the money that his girlfriend had saved on the card to buy supplies and food for him and his girlfriend's kids.

Law enforcement was notified, however, when the store realized that the man was not officially authorized to use the card. He was subsequently arrested even though he informed the police officers that he had no idea what he was doing was wrong.

The man may have used the card, intending to provide for the children. But prosecutors can be aggressive at seeking a conviction and will likely make it difficult for him to clearly present his side of the story. For him, and anyone who finds themselves charged with a crime, it can help to speak with someone who understands the implications of a criminal conviction. This can help the person charged defend themselves and possibly even minimize the consequences if a conviction still results.

Source: Daily Citizen: "Man charged with using dead girlfriend's food stamp card," Aug. 2, 2011.

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