NEW ORLEANS AREA MERCHANT, LONG T. TRINH, PLEADS GUILTY TO OVER $2 MILLION IN FOOD STAMP FRAUD
LONG T. TRINH, age 44, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to 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 Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.
According to court documents, 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. Store owner LONG T. TRINH knowingly presenting for payment and redemption SNAP benefits which had been purchased in exchange for cash money and ineligible items through his store.
TRINH faces five (5) years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $250,000.00, and three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Sentencing is set for April 3, 2014.
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 Loan “Mimi” Nguyen.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org