Dairy Chief Blames ‘Greedy’ Truck Drivers in Alleged Fraud
“Greedy” milk truck drivers were blamed Wednesday by the president of a Los Angeles dairy for alleged abuses that prompted the state to suspend the company from participation in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
Fermin Vasquez said his Pure Milk Dairy was cooperating with state and Los Angeles County investigators, who had obtained 43 arrest warrants. The warrants charged forgery and fraud in the alleged falsification of vouchers issued to needy women under the federally funded program.
Vasquez promised that any drivers proven to have altered the WIC vouchers would be fired. The company president contended that he notified state officials when he first noticed “problems with some of the coupons.” The problem occurs, he said, “when drivers become greedy.”
Vasquez also said he planned to appeal the suspension from the program of his dairy, the largest WIC vendor in the state.
Twenty-six drivers were under arrest when the crackdown was announced Tuesday by Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer, head of the state Department of Health Services. Vasquez said others named in the warrants were to surrender to investigators at the plant, 1501 N. Main St., on Wednesday afternoon.
The WIC vouchers, bearing the names of stores and other outlets where recipients can exchange them for milk, eggs and infant formula, purportedly were altered by some drivers so that they bore the dairy’s name, thus allowing the drivers to make the sales.
Kizer said that many vouchers were altered to show higher values than those for which they had been issued.