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Alleged $4 Million Scam Involving Food Stamps Ends in 3 Arrests

February 18, 2016 | Written by Dan Margolis

According to a grand jury in Cleveland, Ohio, there was enough evidence to convince them that three brothers have been running a scam involving food stamps for the last 12 years.

According to federal prosecutors, the three brothers, ages 49, 52 and 53, would exchange people’s food stamps for unauthorized items and cash. The items that were allegedly given to people for their food stamps included calling cards, tobacco, a hookah, a pipe and more. In addition, it is alleged that they bought some people’s food stamp cards to buy food to sell in their store from other grocers.

An undercover sting operation was conducted by federal authorities, which included making unauthorized purchases on food stamps.

The three men now face charges for unlawful redemption of food stamps, food stamp fraud and conspiracy. Federal prosecutors seized almost $900,000 from the brothers’ bank accounts. Prosecutors also want the $4 million the men allegedly made while working the scam.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s special agent in charge for the Cleveland office said, “The [defendants] engaged in millions of dollars of fraud targeting federal government food assistance programs in order to line their pockets. Driven by their greed, they showed a complete disregard for those who were truly in need.”

When facing federal charges, it’s important to get started on your defense as soon as possible. Federal courts and federal laws are more complex in many cases than local or state courts and laws. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the federal court system and possibly mitigate the potential penalties in your case.

Source: Cleveland.com, “Three charged with $4 million food-stamp fraud run from West Side business,” Eric Heisig, Feb. 12, 2016

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