32 Arrested in Alleged Food Stamp Fraud Scheme at Texas Restaurant

Coleman's Burger Deli
Yelp/Coleman's Burger Deli

Thirty-two people were arrested in an alleged food stamp fraud scheme at a Texas restaurant that involved 62 people in June 2019, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office released a list of 32 people who have been arrested since prosecutors indicted 62 people on counts of electronic benefits transfer fraud:

  • Alicia Williams
  • Marva Lee (White)
  • Jamesha Joseph
  • Colleen Brown
  • Keriarnold Kelley
  • Andrea Robinson
  • Quelisha Knight
  • Toiy Jackson
  • Michael Baxter
  • Johnny Ray Coleman
  • Paula Annice Almesticia
  • Bridgette Brown
  • Cheryl Brown
  • Mark Brown
  • Khristie T. Carrier
  • Mary L. Carrier
  • Pleshette Carrington
  • Richard L. Charles
  • Thyrza Bernice Guillory
  • Calvin J. Jackson
  • Kamela Denise Labeaux
  • Christy Lynn Lapoint
  • Godfrey Saxon Nobles
  • Joshua Wayne Peltier
  • Deidra Leanne Pugh
  • Tonya Reed
  • Kaitlyn A. Smith
  • Denisia D. Sykes
  • Cheryl Trainer
  • Ashley Williams
  • Destiny Williams
  • Larry F. Williams

The alleged ringleader of the scheme, restaurant owner Johnny Ray Coleman, was accused of using $71,000 worth of food stamp benefits to purchase food he then sold at Coleman’s Burger Deli in Beaumont, Texas, LMT Online reported.

Coleman was arrested and then later released on bond.

He is one of 62 people who took part in an elaborate food stamp fraud scheme using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, prosecutors said.

The Texas Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General conducted an investigation into the store’s purchases, prompting prosecutors to issue a search warrant for Coleman’s Burger Deli.

“From evidence seized and further developed by investigators, it was discovered over 300 purchases utilizing 92 different EBT cards from 61 different Supplemental Nutrition Assistance recipients were used to procure over $71,000 worth of goods related to the business,” prosecutors with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office said in a statement this month.

Food stamp fraud schemes can be quite extensive, and often cost the federal government billions of dollars.

A January 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits had been trafficked each year in the U.S.

But some experts on food stamp fraud acknowledge that number could be much higher.

Kristina Rasmussen, the vice president of federal affairs for the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), told Breitbart News in an interview when referencing the report that the amount of fraud in this country “could be a lot higher than that.”

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