Until I read to the bottom of this story at NBC I hadn’t planned to mention this immigrant-run convenience store food stamp fraud sentencing. I’ll bet we have at least 50 stories on food stamp fraud here at RRW (a side interest), and it’s a rare news account that mentions immigration status of the perps. This one does! Or, at least questions it! (No Mohammad’s here however!).
From NBC10 (emphasis mine):
A woman who pleaded guilty to bilking the federal government out of nearly $400,000 through food stamp fraud has been sentenced to prison.
Defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP, commonly known as the food stamp program — is a national problem. The government estimates that one out of every 20 food stamp transaction is fraudulent.
U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Peter Neronha said Cristina Ramirez will spend one year and one day in a federal prison, along with three years of supervised release. The first eight months of the supervised release requires Ramirez to be electronically monitored in home confinement.
She was also ordered to pay $399,000 in restitution. [Good luck getting that money—ed]
Ramirez was the owner of Cristina’s market on Smith Street in Providence. She was one of 10 defendants in a sweeping crackdown on food stamp fraud that came to a conclusion last September.
Ramirez’s business allowed for dozens of food stamp recipients to defraud the federal food stamp program.
She was a clever crook, be sure to read the whole story.
In the case of Ramirez, she caused the government, over a three-year period, to deposit more than $1 million in her business account for food stamp reimbursement.
She made illegal withdrawals of nearly $400,000.
The prosecutor said Ramirez committed the crime to enhance her lifestyle, buying a home and new car.
Illegal aliens worked in the store. And get this!
Two of Ramirez’s employees at her store were undocumented immigrants.
Ramirez has also been ordered to cooperate with immigration officials to help determine her status.
I don’t know what it will take to get a real investigative reporter to look into the connection between immigrant-run convenience stores and food stamp fraud. I have alerts set for food stamp fraud and it’s rare to see a typical American name associated with this type of fraud.
If you suspect food stamp fraud in your neighborhood, go here for information on how to report it. Most of these cases are uncovered when a citizen sees something and says something!