Aril 9, 2012
Mr. Jim Buckmaster
Chief Executive Officer
1381 9th Avenue
San Francisco, California 94122
Dear Mr. Buckmaster:
This letter is to follow-up on our earlier correspondence, dated Aug. 17, 2011, in which we requested that Craigslist post a notice regarding the illegality of selling Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on its website and/or that SNAP benefits be added to its prohibited items list. I want to thank you for your attention to this important matter and for taking immediate action to add the sale of SNAP benefits to your prohibited items list. However, there is more work to be done.
We continue to receive complaints that individuals are attempting to buy and/or sell SNAP benefits using your website, as well as posting advertisements offering assistance to falsify income in order to help others qualify for benefits. Program fraud, however limited it may be, undermines public confidence in government and jeopardizes the ability of SNAP to serve the tens of millions of struggling families who need it to help purchase a nutritious diet. The continued efforts by unscrupulous individuals to use your website as a means to conduct illegal activities adversely impacts the integrity and image of SNAP, as well as the intent of your website.
To that end, I respectfully request your assistance to begin a dialogue on how we can work together to prevent future advertisements that attempt to engage in illegal activities with SNAP benefits. In the interim, while we identify a path forward, we also request your continued assistance in removing advertisements as they are identified and to refer sellers' names, addresses, and/or phone numbers, if known, to my office, so that we may forward the information to our Office of Inspector General for investigation.
We appreciate your cooperation in this matter. If you have any questions or information to share, please contact Ronald Ward by phone at 703-305-2523 or email at Ronald.Ward@fns.usda.gov.
Food and Nutrition Service