BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Reselling baby formula bought with taxpayer money on the Web has become a big problem.
The Women, Infants and Children program, or WIC, supports low-income women and children up to age 5 by giving them vouchers for food.
You have to qualify for WIC by showing proof of income and by physically bringing your kids in front of WIC staff members. But Eyewitness News found out that people are still taking advantage of the system.
These days, you can buy almost anything online, even baby formula. But, that formula may have already been paid for by you, the taxpayer. Recently a viewer called Eyewitness News after seeing several ads on Craigslist where people are selling baby formula.
Viewer Bill Snyder said, "It seems like Enfamil is the popular brand for WIC, so why would someone buy it and sell. They are probably getting it for free and selling it for cash."
Snyder has 2-month-old twins and doesn't qualify for WIC. Snyder said he struggles to buy formula for his family and is angry that people are getting it for free from WIC and are turning a profit. Snyder said, "Its almost like I should call them up and tell them it's mine and just take it."
Eyewitness News went to Craigslist to it check out the situation. Sure enough, there are several ads from people trying to sell or buy the Enfamil. But how did we find out if the product actually came from WIC vouchers? We simply asked and found several people admitting to selling WIC formula.
We took our concerns to WIC, which said it absolutely does not condone selling the formula or anything else purchased through a WIC voucher. According to WIC, this is a problem, and it even has its own fraud investigation department.
Officials even take legal action against people using the vouchers other than intended. If someone is found guilty, they would lose all their WIC benefits. They can also be forced to pay WIC back for all the benefits they've received, and some people could see jail time.
We asked WIC what they are going to do with this new information we uncovered. WIC representative Bernadette Parrish told us, "If we find out there that anyone is selling formula on Craigslist, we, ourselves, are going to look on Craigslist and see if we can get any information and we do report it to the program integrity unit, so we will definitely be doing that today."
WIC said it depends on the public to find fraud. If you suspect someone is defrauding the system, you can call their investigation department at (800) 852-5770 or e-mail it at email@example.com.