Now Entering Russ's World
Store owners purchased EBT cards from those issued the benefits, and then used the cards to buy bulk items at warehouse stores, like Sam’s Club, to stock their own shelves.
“The thieves are turning around and inflating the original prices and selling them at are stores, where, quite frankly, people are unable to travel to a grocery store,” said District Attorney Brandon Falls.
The DA’s office says they began an investigation after arresting a shop-lifter at Wal-Mart. The suspect told investagors he was stealing items to sell back to a convenience store.
“The deeper we digged, the more we uncovered,” said Falls.
Authorities contacted Wal-Mart to alert them to the fraud, but they already knew. Wal-Mart was conducting an investigation into local store owners shopping in Wal-Mart, with EBT cards that did not belong to them according to some major resort owners.
Say someone had $150 left on their EBT card; store owners would purchase the card from them for $75.
Now, the card(s) are flagged, and that family doesn’t have their food stamps, nor do the kids that are looking forward to that food.
More than 20 business owners and employees are behind bars, and that number keeps growing.