Don’t know if Michele is talking about this but...
Brockton shops hit on EBT fraud
By Matt Stout and Patrick Whittemore | Friday, November 9, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Local Coverage
Photo by Patrick Whittemore
Employees at the five Brockton shops authorities raided yesterday amid a months-long sting operation were allegedly using other peoples EBT cards to buy groceries they then re-sold at their own stores sometimes at double the price in what officials are calling a whole new breed of abuse that screams for better state gate-keeping.
I had not heard of it before this probe, said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, who oversaw the probe that yesterday led to the busts of eight people many of them store owners and employees in a long-running scheme to turn food stamps into cash.
And, Cruz said, at least one of the inner-city stores sold little to no food at all, raising whole new concerns about how the state approved it to accept EBT cards, whose intended use is to help families get nutritious food they otherwise cant afford.
Whos allowing them to do this? Cruz said of the shops. Thats the question I have. There certainly needs to be a better gate-keeping.
State and Brockton police yesterday executed search warrants at five shops on North Main and Montello streets. Among those arrested on larceny and fraud charges: Abu Osman, 33, the owner of B&D Mart; Dominic Saintus, 41, owner of Dip N Sip; and Djovany and Marie Pierre, a brother-sister duo at JP Communications, which police said sold only various drinks, cigarettes, cellphones and a small amount of snacks yet had an EBT terminal.
Police say another man, Jeff Cicerano, shepherded an undercover cop around Brockton to stores that would turn EBT credit into cash, leading Judge Ronald Moynahan to remark in Brockton District Court that he sounds like the ring leader. Others charged include Orlando Andrade, 47; Felix Rodriguez, 42; and Daniel Dieu, 50.
According to authorities, undercover troopers had gone to each of the stores since May, where theyd hand the EBT cards to store clerks. In some cases, authorities say, the clerks would punch in fake EBT transactions, giving half of the amount in cash to the customer while pocketing the rest.
In other cases, the clerk would take an undercover officers EBT card, use it to buy groceries at a discount store and give the officer half of what they charged to the card in cash, authorities said. The clerk would then stock the store with the cheaper products but at marked-up prices.
Theyre always coming up with new ways to scam the system, said Taunton state Rep. Shaunna OConnell, who has led the charge on EBT reform. EBT has just turned into a crime ring because its so easy to get in on it and its easy to traffick them.
Good to see my hometown still as corrupt as ever. It remains a nice place to have "come from", not bad living in the 60s and 70s. Now, not so much...