[ Text of section added by 2012, 161, Sec. 3 effective July 27, 2012.]
Section 5M. (a) As used in this section, "organization'' shall mean a corporation for profit or not-for-profit, partnership, limited partnership, joint venture, unincorporated association, estate, trust or other commercial or legal entity; provided, however, that "organization'' shall not include an entity organized as or by a governmental agency for the execution of a governmental program.
(b) An organization commits the offense of organizational food stamp benefits trafficking if the organization knowingly; (i) uses, sells, transfers, acquires, alters or possesses food stamp benefits or electronic benefit transfer cards in any manner not authorized by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, 7 U.S.C. § 2011, as amended, or the regulations of the department; or (2) presents for payment or redemption food stamp benefits that have been received, transferred, altered or used in violation of this section shall be guilty of organizational food stamp benefits trafficking.
(c) If an organization is alleged to have committed the offense of organizational food stamp benefits trafficking 2 or more times within a 6-month period, any of those offenses may be aggregated and charged in a single count and the offenses so aggregated and charged shall constitute a single offense.
(d) An organization that commits food stamp benefits trafficking as described in subsection (c) shall:
(1) if it is the organization's first offense under this section, be punished by a fine of not less than $5,000;
(2) if it is the organization's second offense under this section, be punished by a fine of not less than $10,000; or
(3) if it is the organization's third or subsequent offense under this section, be punished by a fine of not less than $50,000.
(e) A retail or wholesale organization owner who is convicted of organizational food stamp benefits trafficking and who also possesses a license to sell alcoholic beverages under section 12 of chapter 138 shall be referred to the appropriate licensing authority for possible disciplinary action pursuant to section 64 of said chapter 138.
(f) A retail or wholesale organization owner who is convicted of organizational food stamp benefits trafficking and who also possesses a license to sell lottery tickets under sections 26 and 27 of chapter 10 shall be referred to the director of the state lottery for possible disciplinary action.
(g) Crimes under this section may be prosecuted and punished in any county where defendant used, transferred, acquired or possessed food stamp benefits, or the county in which the state agency responsible for administering food stamp benefits is headquartered.