At least 62 people are facing charges in an alleged food stamp fraud scheme at a Texas restaurant, and more could be charged, according to a report released Monday.
One of the 62 people facing charges, Larry Coleman, is the brother of the alleged mastermind of the food stamp fraud scheme and was arrested on Monday.
Larry’s brother, restaurant owner Johnny Ray Coleman, is accused of trafficking $71,000 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits where he would purchase food at 50 cents on the dollar, which he then sold at Coleman’s Burger Deli in Beaumont, Texas.
Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham said that Larry Coleman played a crucial role in the scheme by securing the money and convincing people to trade their benefits for cash.
Wortham added that 27 people have admitted to taking part in the scam via video.
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.
Authorities say there could be more people facing charges in this particular scheme.
Food stamp fraud schemes can be quite costly to the federal government, oftentimes bilking the feds out of 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.”