7 Defendants Charged In $5 Million
Food Stamp Fraud Conspiracy
SAVANNAH, GA: SABRINA SESBERRY, 38, from Atlanta; LITRICIA ALLEN, 37, from Savannah; RUPERT JONES, 34, from Atlanta; JEWELL ALLEN, 57, from Atlanta; PATRINA BARGE; 41, from Decatur; RASHELLA REED, 40, from Riverdale; and DERRICK ROBINSON, 40, from Riverdale, were recently indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Georgia for their roles in a $5 million food-stamp fraud upon the United States Department of Agriculture. SESBERRY, LITRICIA ALLEN, JONES, JEWELL ALLEN, REED and ROBINSON were arraigned today in front of United States Magistrate Judge G.R. Smith. BARGE will be arraigned at a later date.
The indictment alleges that these defendants were involved in a conspiracy to unlawfully exchange over $5 million in government benefits from the food stamp and WIC (Women, Infant and Children) programs for cash. The conspiracy is alleged to have included thirteen storefronts throughout Georgia, including stores in Savannah, Augusta and Atlanta. This indictment follows two earlier indictments alleging food stamp fraud, which were returned in July and October of 2011. Of the 9 individuals charged in the earlier indictments, 7 have pled guilty.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “The United States alleges that these defendants stole taxpayer paid benefits intended to feed the most needy families and children in our communities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to investigating and prosecuting complex financial fraud, especially when it attacks government programs paid for by taxpayers of the United States.”
SESBERRY, LITRICIA ALLEN, JONES, JEWELL ALLEN, BARGE, REED and ROBINSON are charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. SESBERRY and LITRICIA ALLEN are also charged with stealing government funds, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. SESBERRY, LITRICIA ALLEN, JONES, BARGE and REED are charged with a conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. The United States further seeks the forfeiture of $5 million and various bank accounts and assets, including a 2005 Corvette, a 2003 Ferrari and a 2005 Maserati. Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The indictments of SESBERRY, LITRICIA ALLEN, JONES, JEWELL ALLEN, BARGE, REED, ROBINSON and others arise out of a joint investigation by Special Agent Salina Walker of the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General; Special Agent Jacqueline Reynolds and Task Force Officer Arnold Kenny of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations; Special Agent Brent Rothschild of the United States Secret Service; and, investigators with the Georgia Department of Health and Human Services and Georgia Department of Public Health. Assistant United States Attorneys James Durham and Gregory Gilluly are prosecuting the case for the United States.