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General Laws

Section 5L. (a) As used this section and section 5M, “food stamp benefits” shall mean benefits issued pursuant to the federal Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2011 to 2029, inclusive, as amended, including such benefits contained on an electronic benefit transfer card.

(b) An individual commits the offense of food stamp benefits trafficking if the individual knowingly:

(1) presents for payment or redemption or transfers food stamp benefits in any form, including transfers to another, who does not, or does not intend to, use the food stamp benefits for the benefit of the household for whom the benefits were intended, as defined in the regulations of the department; or

(2) possesses, buys, sells, uses, alters, accepts or transfers food stamp benefits in any manner not authorized by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, 7 U.S.C. § 2011, as amended.

(c) An individual who traffics food stamp benefits, as described in subsection (b), shall:

(1) if the food stamp benefits are of a value of less than $250 or if the item used, transferred, acquired, altered or possessed has a value of less than $250, be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 1 year or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both such fine and imprisonment; or

(2) if the food stamp benefits are of a value of $250 or more or the item used, transferred, acquired, altered or possessed has a value of $250 or more, be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 2 years or by imprisonment in a state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both fine and imprisonment.

(d) If a person is alleged to have committed the offense of trafficking in food stamp benefits 2 or more times within a 6-month period, those offenses may be aggregated and charged in a single count and the offenses so aggregated and charged shall constitute a single offense; provided, however, that, if the aggregate value of the food stamp benefits alleged to be trafficked is $250 or more, the person shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in clause (2) of subsection (c).

(e) Crimes under this section may be prosecuted and punished in any county where a defendant used, transferred, acquired or possessed food stamp benefits or in the county in which the state agency responsible for administering food stamp benefits is headquartered.

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