Two Tennessee men have been accused of running a food stamp fraud scheme in which they traded food stamp benefits for cash and heroin.
Authorities arrested Joseph George Faddoul, 32, and James Allan Hampton Jr., 52, after they allegedly purchased electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards from undercover officers December 21, 2017, and January 18, 2018, and traded those benefits for cash and heroin, Knox News reported.
The duo allegedly operated the store Volunteer Meat and Seafood and withdrew a total of $4,268 in funds from the EBT cards using a mobile card reader.
Authorities arrested Hampton Jr. Tuesday during a Knox County Sheriff’s Department raid of his home in the Timberlake subdivision.
Hampton Jr.’s arrest then led sheriffs to Faddoul, whom authorities found intoxicated Saturday night at a North Knoxville restaurant, according to arrest warrants.
Faddoul allegedly used a fake name when officers questioned him, but authorities later identified him as the second man tied to the scheme.
He faces ten counts of food stamp fraud, one count of felony theft, six counts of identity theft, and one count of sale and delivery of Schedule I drugs. Faddoul, who is being held in jail on $61,500 bond, also faces additional charges of public intoxication and criminal impersonation.
Hampton faces charges of food stamp fraud, felony theft, and identity theft. He is being held in jail on $56,000 bond for 22 felony warrants.
Both men are due in court for a preliminary hearing Friday.
Although these men have been charged but not convicted of food stamp fraud, those who have been convicted of the crime suffer serious consequences.
Last month, a judge sentenced a Baltimore man to 27 months in federal prison for carrying out $1.5 million worth of food stamp fraud. On Friday, a judge sentenced an Oregon minimart owner to two years behind bars for carrying out $186,000 worth of food stamp fraud.