With nicknames like "The Money Wizard" and "Gran Hustle," 88 people have been indicted in what the FBI calls "one of the largest federal food program frauds ever." Grocery stores were created for the express purpose of laundering WIC (Women, Infant & Children) and Food Stamp (EBT) funds from willing benefits-receivers who were given discounted cash for the "food" stamps canvassed from "low income neighborhoods" in Georgia. The government seeks the forfeiture of $20 million in bank accounts and assets, including two luxury vehicles, a 2008 Mercedes Benz and a 2008 Land Rover. Exceptional!
Via The FBI,
Georgia’s Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program provides infant formula, juice, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other healthy foods to low-income pregnant and postpartum women and to infants and children up to age 5 who are nutritionally at risk.
The Food Stamp Program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides “food stamp” benefits to low-income families through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which are similar to debit cards. It is a crime to exchange WIC or Food Stamp benefits for cash.
How They Did It...
The 54-defendant indictment alleges that a number of defendants conspired to open purported grocery stores in Savannah, Macon, Atlanta, Garden City, Lithonia, LaGrange, Stone Mountain, Riverdale, and elsewhere for the purpose of buying WIC and Food Stamp benefits for cash.
Once the purported stores were opened and approved as WIC and Food Stamp vendors, many of the defendants allegedly canvassed low-income neighborhoods and solicited WIC and Food Stamp participants to illegally exchange their benefits not for food but for cash.
The defendants then allegedly bought WIC and Food Stamp benefits for cash at a fraction of the amount they received from the USDA by redeeming the benefits they had purchased. The defendants also allegedly conspired to launder over $18 million in proceeds received from their fraud upon the WIC and Food Stamp programs.
And here are the 54 defendants who ran the scheme (34 others who were involved were the ones illegally trading their oh-so-critical food stamps for cash)...
- Brandon Sapp, AKA “B,” 37, Austell, Georgia
- Kimberly Sapp, AKA “Kimberly Walker,” AKA “The Money Wizard,” 34, Austell, Georgia
- Calvin Williams, AKA “Slick,” 39, Atlanta, Georgia
- Isaac Martin, AKA “Ike,” 37, Jonesboro, Georgia
- John P. Jones, AKA “JP,” 39, Ellenwood, Georgia
- Wayne Jackson, AKA “J5,” 32, Atlanta, Georgia
- Gregory Thomas, AKA “Rich Gregg,” 37, Atlanta, Georgia
- Kerry Adams, AKA “Big Skreed,” AKA “Skrump,” 38, Atlanta, Georgia
- Brian Lockhart, AKA “Lock,” 47, Atlanta, Georgia
- Henry Ward, AKA “TY,” AKA “TYE,” AKA “Grand Hustle,” 32, Savannah, Georgia
- Vincent Harper, 40, Atlanta, Georgia
- Ostrando S. Brock, AKA “Shun,” AKA “Shawn,” 32, Mableton, Georgia
- Jesse McCoy, AKA “Jay Mac,” 42, Ellenwood, Georgia
- Terence Cosby, AKA “Me Gold,” 33, Savannah, Georgia
- Raymond Hargrove, 27, Savannah, Georgia
- Jacqueline Beauchamp, AKA “Jackie,” 25, Pooler, Georgia
- Elizabeth Beauchamp, 28, Pooler, Georgia
- Gerald Patilla, AKA “PT,” 30, Savannah, Georgia
- Clayton Talley, 32, Pooler, Georgia
- Ebony Jacobs, 28, Savannah, Georgia
- Olajawon Simmons, AKA “Wan,” AKA “Won,” 27, Savannah, Georgia
- Reginald Simmons, AKA “Reggie,” 28, Savannah, Georgia
- Gary Grier, AKA “Bundee”, AKA “Dee,” 37, Atlanta, Georgia
- Magregor Warner, AKA “KB,” 40, Atlanta, Georgia
- Benjamin Tookes, AKA “B,” AKA “Ben,” 40, Atlanta, Georgia
- Carlos Davis, AKA “Lo,” 38, Atlanta, Georgia
- Raymond Hixon, AKA “Dre,” 38, Atlanta, Georgia
- Thomas Thornton, AKA “Big Bo,” 27, Atlanta, Georgia
- Branden Jordan, 32, Atlanta, Georgia
- Mark White, 38, Atlanta, Georgia
- Tobias Render, AKA “Tee,” AKA “Toby,” 33, Atlanta, Georgia
- Eric Burkes, AKA “E,” 25, Atlanta, Georgia
- Aryay Strong, 31, Atlanta, Georgia
- Marshall Sears, 38, Atlanta, Georgia
- Suleyma Arreola, 21, Marietta, Georgia
- Emory White, 32, Marietta, Georgia
- Obryan Moore, AKA “OB,” 29, Powder Springs, Georgia
- Terry Mitchell, Jr., 43, LaGrange, Georgia
- Corey Mitchell, AKA “Stick,” 39, Atlanta, Georgia
- Luquoise Clay, AKA “Qui,” 30, Atlanta, Georgia
- Jessica Cameron, AKA “Keta,” 30, Grantville, Georgia
- Joshua Dunlap, 38, Monticello, Georgia
- Maurice Fudge, AKA “Reese,” 39, Macon, Georgia
- Quinton Matthews, AKA “Q,” AKA “Chuck Matthews,” 39, Macon, Georgia
- Charles Jackson, AKA “Cooley Slim,” AKA “Corey,” 35, Lithia Springs, Georgia
- Ronnie Zachary, AKA “City,” 29, Byron, Georgia
- Porsha Drewery, AKA “Parsha,” 37, Macon, Georgia
- Taquilla Johnson, AKA “Quilla,” 35, Macon, Georgia
- Raheem Waller, 30, Atlanta, Georgia
- Travis Rich, 35, Atlanta, Georgia
- Marlon Dobbins, 29, Atlanta, Georgia
- Derrick Heard, AKA “Da Man,” AKA “Heard,” 43, Atlanta, Georgia
- Rahdriq Turner, AKA “Rah Rah,” 36, Rockmart, Georgia
- Antonio Dorsey, AKA “Bear,” 34, East Point, Georgia
The WIC and Food Stamp programs are designed to provide necessary nutrition for the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Atlanta. “HSI is proud to have assisted the U.S. Department of Agriculture and others in protecting this program from alleged fraudulent activity in the state of Georgia.”
“This investigation and prosecution should send a strong zero-tolerance message to those individuals who create businesses for the purpose of specifically defrauding the taxpayer funded WIC and SNAP programs,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent in Charge, USDA-OIG-Investigations. “It should also serve as a warning to all stores, that participate in the WIC and SNAP programs as vendors, that fraud and trafficking (purchasing those benefits for cash) will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted by
Now that is exceptional.