A federal judge sentenced a Kentucky woman to 66 months behind bars for engaging in nearly $409,000 worth of food stamp fraud.
U.S. District Court Judge David L. Bunning gave Phyllis Tyler, 49, of Edgewood, a 66-month prison sentence for food stamp fraud, conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, and four separate instances of money laundering, WCPO reported.
Tyler managed and operated A&E Fashion and Beauty Supply LLC, a convenience store in Covington, Kentucky, that accepted food stamps and sold items such as wigs, makeup, t-shirts, snacks, and beer.
Prosecutors say Tyler purchased food stamp EBT cards from beneficiaries, giving them half the value of what the EBT cards were worth and used the EBT cards to purchase items from the store between January 2, 2012, until June 26, 2015.
Each purchase she made using the EBT cards from her store got reimbursed by the federal government. Under federal regulations, the government gives authorized food stamp retailers money for each purchase made with EBT cards.
Investigators say that the government money went to Tyler’s business bank account. She also purchased EBT cards for cash at other retailers, using the benefits to buy items to add to the store’s inventory or for personal use.
Tyler’s food stamp fraud totaled $408,979.76, and she laundered more than $10,000 that she obtained through food stamp fraud through a financial institution on four separate occasions, according to investigators.
In addition to her prison sentence, Tyler must serve three years of probation after she is released from prison. She must also serve at least 85 percent of her sentence behind bars.
Food stamp fraud cases have taken place among both recipients of food stamps and store owners who accept benefits as a method of purchase.
Seven South Carolina women who received benefits as part of a $5 million food stamp fraud scheme pleaded guilty in July to defrauding the government of more than $20,000. The store owners, in that case, are facing prison terms of up to five years.