Two New Orleans Area Merchants Charged With Food Stamp Fraud
LONG T. TRINH, age 44, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, was charged today in a Bill of Information for receiving approximately $2,296,379 from the United State Department of Agriculture based upon food stamp benefits through his store Seafood Heaven, located in Gretna, Louisiana, that were not authorized, announced U. S. Attorney Dana Boente. In a separate Bill of Information, HAI BUI aka JIMMY BUI, age 57, a resident of Harvey, Louisiana, was charged with over $1 million dollars in food stamp fraud through his store Theresas Seafood #2, also located in Gretna, Louisiana. BUI’s wife, TERESA THUY BUI, age 62, was charged with misprision of a felony.
If convicted, the maximum penalty LONG T. TRINH and JIMMY BUI each face is 5 years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $250,000. TERESA BUI faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 3 years and/or a maximum fine of $250,000.
According to the Bills of Information, grocery retailers who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal government program formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, may only accept and redeem food stamp benefits in exchange for the sale of eligible food items. Retailers may not exchange food stamp benefits for cash or any other ineligible items of value such as tobacco products or alcoholic beverages. Both store owners, LONG T. TRINH and JIMMY BUI are charged with knowingly presenting for payment and redemption SNAP benefits which had been purchased in exchange for cash money and ineligible items through their respective stores.
U. S. Attorney Boente reiterated that the Bills of Information are merely charges and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This case was investigated by the United State Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dorothy Manning Taylor.