A Ghanaian immigrant to the U.S. pled guilty to one of the largest food stamp frauds ever but the media covered up her immigrant status, describing her only as a “Worcester woman.”
Vida Ofori Causey cheated the SNAP program out of millions between 2000 to 2014, according to documents filed with the Justice Department. Here‘s how the Worcester local press described how she committed the fraud.
From April 2010 to October 2014, Ms. Causey conspired with others to commit SNAP fraud by purchasing SNAP benefits rather than exchanging them for food. Ms. Causey purchased the benefits at a discounted value of approximately 50 cents for every SNAP dollar. That resulted in Ms. Causey having the federal government electronically deposit into a bank account she controlled the full face value of the SNAP benefits.
The government said Ms. Causey and her co-conspirators accepted Electronic Benefit Cards from SNAP recipients wishing to exchange them for cash. They subsequently passed those EBT cards through a point-of-sale terminal for the full value of the SNAP benefits.
Though Causey’s massive fraud was noted none of the media reports mentioned her immigrant status.
She was more than forthcoming about it in an interview in 2007 that described her as a Ghananian native.
She attended Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana from 1991-1994, according to her LinkedIn page. She enrolled in Quinsigamond Community College between 2003-2005 in Worcester where she studied electronics.
In 2011 her community college bragged about her and called her a “success story.”