RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The federal government is teaming up with Virginia and Maryland to crack down on food stamp fraud.

The partnership announced Wednesday involves the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for overseeing 250,000 retailers nationwide that redeem the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The states are responsible for identifying and pursuing food stamp fraud.

Under the partnership, Maryland and Virginia entered into a data-sharing agreement with the USDA to develop improved monitoring tools to detect fraud. The USDA says it has a great deal of experience identifying fraud through so-called data mining.

The department said the data sharing with the two states is similar to its state-of-the-art anti-fraud program used to closely monitor the 2.5 million electronic retailer transactions daily.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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