LORAIN, Ohio - Six people and a business have been indicted by the Lorain County Grand Jury for their role in a food stamp fraud operation, which contributed to $582,000 in fraud.
The indictments which were made Wednesday came 15 months after Ohio Investigative Unit agents and officers with the Lorain Police Department and the Lorain County Drug Task Force conducted search warrants at the Adames Deli & Grocery, Inc., at 1700 East 31 Street in Lorain.
Adames Deli & Grocery, Inc. was indicted on one count of theft and ten counts of illegal use of food stamps. Rafeal Coll, 41, Lorain, was also indicted on ten counts of illegal use of food stamps.
Lorain residents Erica Perez, 29, Lydia Vega, 31 and Monica Perez, 31, as well as Malivanh Phouthavong, 23, and Marlon Charley, 38, of Elyria, were indicted on one count of illegal use of food stamps.
The case was brought about by citizen complaint and agents were able to determine that ineligible items, including cell phone payments, were purchased with food stamps. In February 2012, investigators raided the Lorain store accused of food stamp fraud.
After all criminal proceedings are complete, the administrative case will be presented to the Liquor Control Commission for consideration. Possible penalties include fines, suspension or revocation of the liquor permit.
Anyone who suspects retailers are participating in food stamp fraud is encouraged to contact the Ohio Investigative Unit by calling #677 on their cell phones.