Six Ohio residents are accused of carrying out an $8.5 million food stamp fraud scheme, according to prosecutors.
Of the seven people accused of running a food stamp fraud scheme through a local food delivery business, six of them pled guilty while one pled not guilty.
The owner of the business, Kaitlin Koher, 32, of Jackson Township, pled not guilty and will be due back in court later in July, the Canton Repository reported.
Court documents state that the business, Ohio Direct Distributors, conducted an $8.5 million food stamp fraud scheme using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits between August 2011 and September 2017.
The documents state that up to 93 percent of the company’s transactions could be considered fraudulent.
Federal investigators say that these store owners used SNAP recipients to trade benefits for cash and often “completed transactions without the individual recipient’s knowledge or consent,” the court filings said.
Food stamp fraud is quite commonplace among convenience stores in the U.S. and is one of the ways the federal government loses billions of dollars each year.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from 2019 found that criminals were responsible for trafficking at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits.
Last March, Florida law enforcement officials busted nearly 200 people on food stamp fraud charges while they carried out an undercover law enforcement investigation.