A lawyer for the Ohio butchers claimed Thursday that the owner’s brother committed nearly $3.5 million in food stamp fraud, not the owners.
Ben Dusing, the lawyer for Amanda and Michael Busch, said the brother conducted “at least eight inappropriate transactions” with confidential informants and undercover federal agents, the Cincinnati Inquirer reported.
“It appears that the third individual (identified in the warrants) engaged in inappropriate transactions with someone who turned out to be an undercover government agent,” Dusing said. “I’m not prepared to say much more about that other than it appears that he is in trouble.
Dusing added that the company did not know about or profit off the fraud.
Amanda and Michael jointly own Busch’s Country Corner, a poultry and meat stand at Cincinnati’s iconic Findlay Market.
The owners, along with Michael’s brother Randall, had been named in a federal warrant last week. Federal investigators accused them of carrying out a nearly $3.5 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) trafficking scheme from January 2010 to March 2018.
All three suspects reside in Sunman, Indiana, where authorities have conducted searches of two homes in the area, according to search warrant documents.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that food stamp fraud cost taxpayers $560 million last year. Some of the biggest food stamp fraud busts of 2017 ranged in the tens of millions of dollars.