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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Sept. 17, 2012                   

HUNTINGTON WOMAN SENTENCED IN CONNECTION TO ILLEGAL FOOD STAMP FRAUD SCHEME

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that a Huntington woman was sentenced to three months of community correction and six months of home confinement as a part of her four year sentence of probation for her role in an illegal food stamp fraud scheme.  Stephanie Pauley, 35, of Huntington, previously pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud.  Pauley 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.

Pauley was an employee of the Huntington-area convenience store, All-in-One store ("All-in-One") at the time of the illegal fraud scheme. Pauley admitted that some time after March 2009 and continuing until February 2012, she conspired with other known individuals in an illegal card-swiping scheme that took place at All-in-One.  The owner of the All-in-One store, Abe Eloirzazi and another store employee, Cindy Gibson are both pending sentencing.

She fraudulently swiped certain recipients' Mountain State Cards by charging a certain dollar amount against the value of the recipient's card.  Pauley admitted that the card recipients were given 50 to 65 cents on the dollar in cash. Pauley also admitted to illegally selling cigarettes and alcohol by charging the purchase on the Mountain State Card as though it was an eligible food item. The All-in-One bank account then received the full amount of the fraudulent transactions from the government. Pauley admitted that as a result of the scheme, she redeemed a portion of approximately $127,000 in SNAP benefits.

The Court also ordered the defendant to pay $127,000 in restitution.

The Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the Huntington Police Department, 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 handled the prosecution.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers. 

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