LANCASTER – The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office is teaming with the state Inspector General against a form of welfare fraud that involves store merchants paying cash for government-assistance benefits. Specifically, officials are seeing holders of SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – benefits cards selling them to store merchants for “pennies on the dollar,” according to Inspector General Bruce Beemer. That is welfare fraud because the cards are only to be used to purchase food. Beemer is spearheading an initiative that will soon be implemented in Lancaster County with District Attorney Craig Stedman providing the enforcement arm by targeting the store owners paying cash for cards. Undercover tactics will be used to find offenders, who will face criminal prosecution. Stedman pointed to the drug epidemic as a motive for cardholders trading for cash. Assistant District Attorney Lance Greene, who prosecutes welfare fraud locally, said he dealt with about 100 such cases last year. That caseload should increase with this proactive initiative.