FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 16, 2012
HUNTINGTON WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN FOOD STAMP FRAUD SCHEME
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that a Huntington woman pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud. Cynthia Gibson, 40, of Huntington, admitted that she participated with other known individuals in a scheme to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. These benefits are given to eligible individuals in the form of a debit card called the Mountain State Card.
Gibson was a clerk at the Huntington-area convenience store, All-In-One Store ("All-In-One"), formerly known as the Sonoco store, located at 1954 9th Avenue. Gibson admitted that beginning in June 2011 until February 2012, she conspired with other known individuals in an illegal card-swiping scheme that took place at All-In-One.
She fraudulently swiped certain recipients' Mountain State Cards by charging a certain dollar amount against the value of the recipient's card. Gibson admitted that the card recipients were given 50 to 65 cents on the dollar in cash. The All-In-One bank account then received the full amount of the fraudulent transactions from the government. Gibson admitted that as a result of the scheme, she redeemed a portion of approximately $127,000 in SNAP benefits.
Gibson faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on October 15, 2012 by United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
In April, Stephanie Pauley, 35, of Huntington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud in connection with the illegal conspiracy. Pauley faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on July 30, 2012.
Earlier this month, former Huntington Mart manager Ibrahim Osman Owayda, also known as “Abe,” 34, of Huntington, pleaded guilty to charges in a similar food stamp fraud scheme. Owayda faces up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 dollar fine when he is sentenced on October 1, 2012
The Huntington Police Department, the Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the West Virginia State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes is in charge of the prosecution.
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