According the Miami Herald, a recent raid on a poplar flea market has resulted in 22 people being charged in food stamp fraud. If found guilty for taking what amounts to $13.1 million in government issued food assistance, the arrests would be the largest food stamp fraud case in the country to date.
Popular flea market central to investigation
The accused are owners of various markets in South Florida, most connected in some way to the Hialeah flea market. All of their businesses were authorized to accept food stamps. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office, working in conjunction with state and federal law enforcement, jointly investigated the store owners for allegedly giving customers paying with EBT food stamp cards cash – for a cut.
Cash instead of food
In the alleged scheme, store operators would ring up purchases for customers paying with EBT, but instead of giving them the goods, the owners would give them cash, less the percentage they kept for themselves.
Seven people still at large
Earlier this month, police conducted a raid at the Hialeah Flea Market. Of the 22 indicted, 15 have been arrested. The charges against them include wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and food stamp/EBT fraud. If convicted, they could face 20 years in prison.
The EBT users who are purported to have received cash will likely also face sanctions, according to the office of the Florida Division of Public Assistance fraud.
Accusations of criminal fraud are a serious matter. If faced with such charges, a criminal defense lawyer well-versed in such cases can make a world of difference in the outcome of your case. Attorney Russell Spatz not only has the expertise but the experience it takes to handle fraud cases. When your freedom and reputation are on the line, his experience will work for you. If you are aware a criminal investigation is taking place, you could be implicated in criminal wrongdoing. Contact an experienced attorney immediately if you suspect an investigation is being conducted.
Teproff, C. (2016, May 11). $13M food stamp scheme busted; 22 people charged. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article77078947.html