54 defendants charged in $18 million food stamp fraud scheme in Georgia

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A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday in Savannah charges 54 defendants for their alleged roles in a massive, statewide scheme to defraud the WIC and Food Stamp programs.

The indictment represents one of the largest federal food-supplement program frauds ever prosecuted, U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver said at an afternoon press conference.

The fraud involved the purchase of more than $18 million in Women, Infant and Children (WIC) vouchers and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamp benefits, for some of the nation’s neediest families and children. Benefits were purchased for cash through a number of purported grocery stores in Savannah, Garden City and other cities throughout the state, then reclaimed for the full amount.

Other cities involved included Macon, Atlanta, Marietta, Lithonia, LaGrange, Stone Mountain, Riverdale, and elsewhere.

In addition to the 54-defendant indictment, 34 other defendants have been charged in separate indictments for allegedly selling their WIC vouchers and food stamp benefits for cash. Those defendants allegedly sold for cash more than $1,000 worth of their own benefits or of benefits for minor children,

The 54-defendant indictment alleges that a number of defendants conspired to open purported grocery stores in for the purpose of buying WIC and Food Stamp benefits for cash.

The scheme ”goes to the heart of the program,” Tarver said, because it takes those benefits for uses other than what the program is intended to do. He called that “egregious.”

“The government alleges that the defendants stole taxspayer-funded benefits intended to feed the most needy families and children in our communities,” Tarver said.

First Assistant U.S. James Durham said that 70 of the 88 individuals involved had been apprehended by Tuesday afternoon in what FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Eugen Kowel said were actions that began “at the crack of dawn” and involved combined actions by federal and local law enforcement officers. He called the action “an example of what we can accomplish in the law enforcement community when we work in partnership.”

According to the 34-page indictment, one of the stores was Super Kids Variety Store located at 302 W. Victory Drive in Savannah which was managed by defendant Henry “Grand Hustle” Ward, who also worked out of Platinum Kids, at 612 Highway 80 West in Garden City.

The scheme involved the alleged illegal purchase of more than $18 million worth of benefits between December 2009 and December 2012, the indictment charged.

Once the purported stores were opened and approved as WIC and Food Stamp vendors, many of the defendants allegedly canvassed low-income neighborhoods and solicited WIC and Food Stamp participants to illegally exchange their benefits not for food, but for cash, the government said.

The defendants then allegedly bought WIC and Food Stamp benefits for cash at a fraction of the amount they received from the USDA by redeeming the benefits they had purchased. The defendants also allegedly conspired to launder more than $18 million in proceeds received from their fraud upon the WIC and Food Stamp programs.

Karen Citzen-Wilcox, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, said the investigation and prosecution “should send a strong zero-tolerance message to those individuals who create businesses for the purpose of specifically defrauding the taxpayer” benefit programs.

LIST OF DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN 54-DEFENDANT INDICTMENT

Brandon Sapp, AKA “B,” 37, Austell, Georgia

Kimberly Sapp, AKA “Kimberly Walker,” AKA “The Money Wizard,” 34, Austell, Georgia

Calvin Williams, AKA “Slick,” 39, Atlanta, Georgia

Isaac Martin, AKA “Ike,” 37, Jonesboro, Georgia

John P. Jones, AKA “JP,” 39, Ellenwood, Georgia

Wayne Jackson, AKA “J5,” 32, Atlanta, Georgia

Gregory Thomas, AKA “Rich Gregg,” 37, Atlanta, Georgia

Kerry Adams, AKA “Big Skreed,” AKA “Skrump,” 38, Atlanta, Georgia

Brian Lockhart, AKA “Lock,” 47, Atlanta, Georgia

Henry Ward, AKA “TY,” AKA “TYE,” AKA “Grand Hustle,” 32, Savannah, Georgia

Vincent Harper, 40, Atlanta, Georgia

Ostrando S. Brock, AKA “Shun,” AKA “Shawn,” 32, Mableton, Georgia

Jesse McCoy, AKA “Jay Mac,” 42, Ellenwood, Georgia

Terence Cosby, AKA “Me Gold,” 33, Savannah, Georgia

Raymond Hargrove, 27, Savannah, Georgia

Jacqueline Beauchamp, AKA “Jackie,” 25, Pooler, Georgia

Elizabeth Beauchamp, 28, Pooler, Georgia

Gerald Patilla, AKA “PT,” 30, Savannah, Georgia

Clayton Talley, 32, Pooler, Georgia

Ebony Jacobs, 28, Savannah, Georgia

Olajawon Simmons, AKA “Wan,” AKA “Won,” 27, Savannah, Georgia

Reginald Simmons, AKA “Reggie,” 28, Savannah, Georgia

Gary Grier, AKA “Bundee”, AKA “Dee,” 37, Atlanta, Georgia

Magregor Warner, AKA “KB,” 40, Atlanta, Georgia

Benjamin Tookes, AKA “B,” AKA “Ben,” 40, Atlanta, Georgia

Carlos Davis, AKA “Lo,” 38, Atlanta, Georgia

Raymond Hixon, AKA “Dre,” 38, Atlanta, Georgia

Thomas Thornton, AKA “Big Bo,” 27, Atlanta, Georgia

Branden Jordan, 32, Atlanta, Georgia

Mark White, 38, Atlanta, Georgia

Tobias Render, AKA “Tee,” AKA “Toby,” 33, Atlanta, Georgia

Eric Burkes, AKA “E,” 25, Atlanta, Georgia

Aryay Strong, 31, Atlanta, Georgia

Marshall Sears, 38, Atlanta, Georgia

Suleyma Arreola, 21, Marietta, Georgia

Emory White, 32, Marietta, Georgia

Obryan Moore, AKA “OB,” 29, Powder Springs, Georgia

Terry Mitchell, Jr., 43, LaGrange, Georgia

Corey Mitchell, AKA “Stick,” 39, Atlanta, Georgia

Luquoise Clay, AKA “Qui,” 30, Atlanta, Georgia

Jessica Cameron, AKA “Keta,” 30, Grantville, Georgia

Joshua Dunlap, 38, Monticello, Georgia

Maurice Fudge, AKA “Reese,” 39, Macon, Georgia

Quinton Matthews, AKA “Q,” AKA “Chuck Matthews,” 39, Macon, Georgia

Charles Jackson, AKA “Cooley Slim,” AKA “Corey,” 35, Lithia Springs, Georgia

Ronnie Zachary, AKA “City,” 29, Byron, Georgia

Porsha Drewery, AKA “Parsha,” 37, Macon, Georgia

Taquilla Johnson, AKA “Quilla,” 35, Macon, Georgia

Raheem Waller, 30, Atlanta, Georgia

Travis Rich, 35, Atlanta, Georgia

Marlon Dobbins, 29, Atlanta, Georgia

Derrick Heard, AKA “Da Man,” AKA “Heard,” 43, Atlanta, Georgia

Rahdriq Turner, AKA “Rah Rah,” 36, Rockmart, Georgia

Antonio Dorsey, AKA “Bear,” 34, East Point, Georgia

LIST OF DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN SEPARATE INDICTMENTS

Chiquita Armstead, 40, Savannah, Georgia

Yontalay Renee Bennett, 28, Savannah, Georgia

Precious T. Bevins, 24, Garden City, Georgia

Shanika C. Blige, 22, Savannah, Georgia

Deanna W. Boles, 23, Savannah, Georgia

Candice Bostick, 23, Savannah, Georgia

Danitra Bostick, 26, Savannah, Georgia

Tia K. Bowers, 25, Savannah, Georgia

Tonya D. Clark, 41, Savannah, Georgia

Jocelyn Easterling, 48, Savannah, Georgia

Ebony Ellison, 27, Savannah, Georgia

Deonka S. Ellison, 24, Savannah, Georgia

Joanne Ferguson, 42, Savannah, Georgia

Fanchon Nyticia Hill, 26, Jesup, Georgia

Shaquanna C. Hooper, 24, Savannah, Georgia

Tameshia Natasha Jackson, 24, Savannah, Georgia

Koneshia N. Jenkins, 26, Pembroke, Georgia

Latisha V. Jones, 30, Savannah, Georgia

Jameise’ Mayberry, 23, Savannah, Georgia

Quinta Meggett-Mike, 37, Garden City, Georgia

Ebony Roberson, 26, Savannah, Georgia

Shakeila D. Roberts, 22, Savannah, Georgia

Jasmine S. Sammuel, AKA “Jazmi Beasley,” AKA “Jazmi Smith,” 24, Savannah, Georgia

Deanna K. Scott, 24, Savannah, Georgia

Whitney Denise Stokes, 25, Savannah, Georgia

Regina C. Styles, 21, Savannah, Georgia

Hope Taylor, 33, Savannah, Georgia

Ebonilaestei Tremble, 34, Savannah, Georgia

Linda J. Walker, 22, Savannah, Georgia

Tiera L. Walthour, 23, Savannah, Georgia

Alexis Washington, 26, Savannah, Georgia

Rhonda Washington, 31, Savannah, Georgia

Amber Shaniqua Wilson, 23, Savannah, Georgia

Ke’Airra Young, 24, Savannah, Georgia

Comments (30) Add comment
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dichotomy
33005
Points
dichotomy 06/10/14 - 05:56 pm
18
3
Tip of the iceberg for Food

Tip of the iceberg for Food Stamp fraud. Multiply all of the Food Stamp fraud by SSI, Welfare, Section 8, Obamacare Medicaid, and Disability.

The liberals want you to think that the amount of fraud in these government giveaway programs is small.......welfare fraud is a GINORMOUS INDUSTRY.

Navy Gary
1615
Points
Navy Gary 06/10/14 - 06:11 pm
15
0
Sad thing

Sad thing is, they'll never catch the people who sell $100 worth of food stamps for $50 every month.

Airman
3764
Points
Airman 06/10/14 - 06:21 pm
15
2
Wholesale theft

Yet when you make a comment about able bodied lazy people on the dole you catch holy hell. This is what I am talking about, I have seen these transaction take place and reported. The latest was yesterday at a Marathon conveinence store. A woman bought 28$ worth of lottery tickets and used San EBT card. I also reported them to the GA Lottery because it is cash only.

burninater
9596
Points
burninater 06/10/14 - 06:26 pm
13
2
We need more indictments like

We need more indictments like this. Hats off to the FBI and the USDA for spearheading this.

Folks think targeting the poor will alleviate assistance fraud -- but it is the individuals and institutions that exploit poverty for continued gain that are at the root of this problem.

nocnoc
42683
Points
nocnoc 06/10/14 - 06:30 pm
10
0
... and elsewhere.

I am going to say something just to disprove a Racial Stereotype some people minds.

Likely, many people think its some White or Asian store owner dude ripping off the poor community. In this case it seem looking at facebook, mugshots, google, ethic names and aka's and myspace and etc.. data...

That Racial Stereotype this particular case DOES NOT HOLD WATER.

corgimom
32581
Points
corgimom 06/10/14 - 06:33 pm
1
16
Navy Gary, since food stamps

Navy Gary, since food stamps haven't been issued for years, how do they get sold?

When there is conspiracy involved, it is very hard to detect. EBT fraud from individuals is very low. But if you want to see some massive fraud, take a look at the Medicare reimbursement system that reimburses doctors and nursing homes.

Oh, and Navy Gary? Disability isn't welfare fraud, I don't know why you'd think that it was. Neither is SSI, Section 8, or Medicaid.

But I had to laugh, the "Money Wizard" isn't quite the wizard she thinks she is.

Gage Creed
17250
Points
Gage Creed 06/10/14 - 07:08 pm
15
0
Corgi... in my book $18

Corgi... in my book $18 Million in fraud is pretty significant...

bubba2014
464
Points
bubba2014 06/10/14 - 07:54 pm
13
0
"Oh, and Navy Gary?
Unpublished

"Oh, and Navy Gary? Disability isn't welfare fraud, I don't know why you'd think that it was."
@corgimom - there are many on disability that are not disable. In the last 3 years people on disability has went 20%. The liberals want us to believe all of a sudden there are a higher % that are disable but I am not that gullible.

Eos
153
Points
Eos 06/10/14 - 08:02 pm
12
0
Many Thanks.

The FBI did a great job! Hopefully, they will continue to pursue this problem in other cities.

Graymare
3210
Points
Graymare 06/10/14 - 08:06 pm
6
3
Sad

And there are children out there waking up hungry, and going to bed hungry.

corgimom
32581
Points
corgimom 06/10/14 - 08:15 pm
2
15
Of course disability claims

Of course disability claims have risen, because the population has increased and all of us Baby Boomers are falling apart. This has been predicted. This is also why the VA is being flooded, because all of the Baby Boomer vets are aging and getting sick.

It is very, very difficult to get disability and hard to keep it, too. I know from personal experience, and quit believing all the nutcase blogs.

It's been well-known for years that this swell was coming. The older you get, the more likely you are to need disability.

And this has nothing to do with liberals, or conservatives, or who the President is. It is all about demographics.

If you think of you, your family, and friends, think of all the people that you know that have had surgeries, severe car accidents, and other severe accidents at work or at home, etc. Think of all the people that you know that have chronic illnesses. And illnesses and accidents takes a toll on people's bodies, and combine that with natural aging processes, and there you go.

When you look at it that way, you will realize that you know a lot of those people.

I was in a very minor car accident in March of last year. I just finished physical therapy 3 weeks ago, I'm still going to a rehab doctor and an orthopedic surgeon. Why? Because I'm 56, and I don't heal in 2 weeks like I did when I was 18.

And what a lot of people don't want to acknowledge is how prior illegal drug use has contributed to this. Back in the 60's, 70's, 80's, drug use was all over the place. Cocaine, hashish, heroin, LSD, amphetamines. And it damaged people's hearts, lungs, kidneys, and liver, and now they're older, and their bodies can't compensate for it any more.

It's going to get worse, and that's the way it is, and you are free to believe it or not, but it's true.

bubba2014
464
Points
bubba2014 06/10/14 - 08:15 pm
16
0
"And there are children out
Unpublished

"And there are children out there waking up hungry, and going to bed hungry."
@Garymare - and it is because of sorry parents.

bubba2014
464
Points
bubba2014 06/10/14 - 08:27 pm
12
3
"Of course disability claims
Unpublished

"Of course disability claims have risen, because the population has increased and all of us Baby Boomers are falling apart."
@corgimom - actually the population has increased about 1% a year. The baby boomers are actually healthier. As I said I am not gullible enough to believe the lies put out by the liberals.

Stoner
55
Points
Stoner 06/10/14 - 08:44 pm
7
0
Good job ! Ed Tarver I know

Good job ! Ed Tarver I know President Obama appointed you as the first black U.S. Attorney of Southern District of Georgia you would do something special that no other attorneys have done.

Navy Gary
1615
Points
Navy Gary 06/10/14 - 09:18 pm
5
0
Corgimom...

That wasn't my post...

JRC2024
8879
Points
JRC2024 06/10/14 - 10:08 pm
5
0
Now they are ...AKA Jailbird.

Now they are ...AKA Jailbird. Does anyone care about all those that were arrested and proven guilty. I hope not. They are predators and thives to their own people.

gargoyle
17137
Points
gargoyle 06/10/14 - 10:54 pm
8
0
Imagine what Golden Harvest

Imagine what Golden Harvest could do with 18M .

sand gnat
516
Points
sand gnat 06/10/14 - 10:56 pm
7
3
Economy

This is just part of the "new economy" as our president transforms America. Call it supplemental income since unemployment, welfare,
section 8 housing, low income tax credits, free cell phones, free medical, social security disability and making babies just doesn't provide enough entitlements to make that cable payment and buy
those new rims. By the way, getting disability is about as difficult as it is to cross the border.

KSL
129874
Points
KSL 06/10/14 - 11:32 pm
5
1
And that includes the help

And that includes the help the feds now offer.

burninater
9596
Points
burninater 06/11/14 - 01:29 am
4
1
"By the way, getting

"By the way, getting disability is about as difficult as it is to cross the border."
------
You mean they make you walk across 50 miles of southern Arizona desert with only the water you can carry on your back? Shoot, if someone can do that, forget disability. Give 'em a job roofing in Augusta in the summer.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/11/14 - 07:37 am
6
1
-
Unpublished

"Navy Gary, since food stamps haven't been issued for years, how do they get sold?"

You don't think you can sell an EBT card?

Truth Matters
6853
Points
Truth Matters 06/11/14 - 07:40 am
1
0
"...the investigation and

"...the investigation and prosecution “should send a strong zero-tolerance message to those individuals who create businesses for the purpose of specifically defrauding the taxpayer” benefit programs."

Good work on the part of these US attorneys. And some people accuse the federal government of not being able to do anything. This is exactly how the system should work. Root out the cheaters and allow the benefits for those in true need. All too often the approach of some is to deny help for everyone due to the behavior of some rouges.

We don't close banks because we have insider traders from time to time, or close hospitals because some doctors cheat in Medicare billing.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 06/11/14 - 07:41 am
7
1
-
Unpublished

"You mean they make you walk across 50 miles of southern Arizona desert with only the water you can carry on your back?"

Must not be that hard if millions of people have done it.

Truth Matters
6853
Points
Truth Matters 06/11/14 - 07:45 am
7
2
"Good job ! Ed Tarver I know

"Good job ! Ed Tarver I know President Obama appointed you as the first black U.S. Attorney of Southern District of Georgia you would do something special that no other attorneys have done."

So true.
More importantly, he is a public servant who serves with character. And Who happens to be a Democrat whose party is accused of being lax on abuse of safety net programs. The lesson for all of us is to judge less by party affiliation and pay attention to an individual's body of work.

slowrider
179
Points
slowrider 06/11/14 - 08:52 am
1
0
we are the only country...

Glad these people were caught.

It would really be nice if subsidies were handed out on a more local (personal) level than on a federal one.

It just becomes too impersonal, too ripe for abuse....

I am so glad someone turned in a convenience store for selling lottery tickets with subsidized money.

What a disaster!

bubba2014
464
Points
bubba2014 06/11/14 - 09:27 am
3
0
"More importantly, he is a
Unpublished

"More importantly, he is a public servant who serves with character."
@Truth Matters - you are right he is exceptional, not many democrats
"serve with character".

Airman
3764
Points
Airman 06/11/14 - 09:49 am
6
1
Corgi-disability hard to get?

That statement does not ring true(hard to get and keep). Go back a few years it was very hard to get, but no longer true.
Examples:
I applied in 1999 after a serious on the job injury. I had a verifiable back injury that has seen my stature shrink almost 5 inches due to disc crumble. I was rejected three times between 2000 and 2004. I went before the administrative judge for my appeal. After much study prior to the hearing he talked with me for about one hour. He got angrier by the minute. In the end he told me he had 90 days to make a decision , but he needed no more time. He told me that day I was approved, and instead of the usual back pay of three years he was demanding social security pay me from the date of application. I got a huge check for fourth two months of back pay. Every three years I get a letter asking me to justify my disability. I fill in the blanks, mail the form and hear no more.

The next example, I can't name names but I have turned him in. He faked a back problem. He is 38 years old. He was approved and drawing a check within 6 months. This happened in 2012. Early in 2013 he started a landscaping business and is doing a booming cash only business. He has 3 Toyota trucks with fully equipped trailers. I sent videos of him working to the proper people.

Truth Matters
6853
Points
Truth Matters 06/11/14 - 09:54 am
1
2
@Truth Matters - you are

@Truth Matters - you are right he is exceptional, not many democrats
"serve with character".

@bubba...
While eating breakfast I was reading some Scriptures. Thank you for posting your comment that has allowed me to see a real life example of one passage: "The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector."

You have a good day!

Airman
3764
Points
Airman 06/11/14 - 09:54 am
5
0
Beware

If you are getting state or federal aid and I see you abuse it I will report it. Also in the case of EBT fraud I will report the store also.

Airman
3764
Points
Airman 06/11/14 - 09:57 am
7
1
We take EBT

Have you noticed the conveinence stores posting big signs saying we take EBT. This is not to help the poor in most cases. It says" come to me and use your card for beer, cigs, lottery or any unapproved item, hey we won't tell.

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