SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — State officials say some recipients of a program meant to help mothers and children are abusing the program by lining their own pockets.
Women, Infants and Children is a federally funded nutrition program intended to help low-income mothers and their babies buy healthy food using federally funded vouchers.
Baby formula is one of the items covered, and it can be expensive. A month’s supply could run $100 or more.
But a CBS13 investigation revealed people placing ads on Craigslist selling multiple cans of the sealed formula for almost half the price. If that formula was purchased through WIC benefits, that’s illegal.
“They can’t do it if they come in here because we will report them,” said Catina National, store manager at Prime Time Nutrition Store.
She often warns customers about reselling WIC food.
“Tell WIC you don’t want it but don’t go sell it for money because it’s for your kids,” she said.
The California Department of Public Health confirmed to CBS13 that it is now conducting field inspections and monitoring the Internet for violators.
More than 1.5 million Californians participate, with the average person in the state receiving about $45 a month in WIC food at a nationwide cost of $810 million a year.