PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Nine people have been charged in a scheme that authorities say defrauded the federal food stamp program of more than $3 million.
In an announcement at the U.S. Attorney's office on Thursday, state and federal authorities said the people charged owned, managed or worked at five Providence convenience stores. They allegedly allowed food stamp recipients to use their cards to exchange benefits for cash, then added a surcharge, usually for that same amount.
Six people were charged by indictment Wednesday after a two-year investigation, authorities said. Three others were charged by information. Those three have agreed to plead guilty. All were from Rhode Island except one, who is from Flushing, N.Y.
U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha called the scheme outrageous and said the retailers were motivated only by greed.