Three additional individuals have been charged in connection with an interstate food stamp fraud scheme that allegedly embezzled approximately $4 million. The interstate food stamp fraud scheme involved the illicit acquisition of electronic benefit (EBT) card data from around 8,000 cardholders, primarily residing in California, Click On Detroit News reported.
$4 Million Interstate Food Stamp Fraud Scheme
The stolen data was then reportedly used to create fraudulent EBT cards in Michigan. These counterfeit cards were subsequently utilized to make unauthorized purchases at Sam’s Club stores located in Metro Detroit.
Initially, search warrants were executed at eight locations in Metro Detroit on May 24, leading to the arrest and arraignment of three individuals linked to the interstate food stamp fraud scheme. They were identified as Travis Newby, 39, from Detroit; Derriun Williams, 23, from Detroit; and Vanessa Williams, 47, from Highland Park.
In a significant development, on August 18, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel disclosed that charges had been filed against three more suspects:
- Charles Williams, 35, of Detroit, who faces one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a felony with a potential 20-year sentence, and five counts of Food Stamp Fraud.
- Darian Palmer, 22, of Detroit, who faces the same charges as Charles Williams.
- Rashawn Stewart, 24, of Detroit, was also charged with the same counts as the aforementioned individuals.
Interstate Food Stamp Fraud Scheme
The investigation was initiated through a collaborative effort between the MDHHS Office of Inspector General and the Sam’s Club Global Security division. Subsequently, the case was transferred to the Attorney General’s ‘FORCE’ Team and Walmart corporate security officials for further investigation.
This case represents just one facet of a broader effort to combat organized retail crime (ORC) in Michigan. The state’s ORC Unit and ‘FORCE’ Team are collaborating with multiple retailers on various ongoing investigations related to substantial retail fraud and theft cases.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel emphasized the substantial financial impact of organized retail crime on businesses and consumers alike. The relentless pursuit of justice against all perpetrators involved in such interstate food stamp fraud schemes underscores the commitment of law enforcement agencies to curbing such activities and protecting both businesses and consumers from financial harm.