GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Three Oceana County women have been charged in U.S. District Court with food stamp fraud totaling nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.
According to documents filed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles, a grand jury investigation resulted in Fabiola Garcia, Cruz Gonzalez and Gisela Mendoza each being charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud while operating the La Fortuna Carniceria store in Shelby.
Gonzalez is the business’ owner while Garcia and Mendoza are her daughters and worked at the store.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids says that the three “charged SNAP benefit recipients a commission (usually about 50 percent) for converting SNAP benefits to cash, in violation of federal law” between February 2008 and Jan. 9, 2014.
Once the investigation began, undercover police officers traded SNAP benefits for items and/or cash and items and/or cash for SNAP benefits at the business.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the three illegally obtained a total of $722,149 in benefits through their transactions.