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Press Release

Three Sentenced in Food Stamp Fraud Scheme that Defrauded the U.S. of Over $1 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that TAYSIR MUHAMMAD, a/k/a “Tommy,” age 46, of Kenner; EUGENE TUMBS, a/k/a “Mr. G,” age 68, of New Orleans; and his daughter KATHY TUMBS, 45, also of New Orleans, were sentenced today after previously pleading guilty to a food stamp fraud scheme that defrauded the United States government of over $1,000,000 in food stamp benefits.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced MUHAMMAD to 34 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. EUGENE and KATHY TUMBS were each placed on five years of probation.  The defendants were also ordered to pay a total amount of restitution of $1,080,575.40 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 KATHY TUMBS previously pled guilty to one count of food stamp fraud and one count of conspiracy to structure transactions.  EUGENE TUMBS previously pled guilty to one count of food stamp fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to structure transactions.   MUHAMMAD previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and wire fraud, food stamp fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to structure transactions, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to court documents, the defendants operated a corner store at the intersection of Frenchmen and North Derbigny Streets in New Orleans.  The store, called the Frenchmen Meat Market, participated in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), which is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The SNAP program provides food stamps to individuals who can then present those food stamps in exchange for eligible food products at participating vendors using the electronic benefits transfer (“EBT”) system to complete the transaction. The defendants, however, permitted customers to use food stamps for ineligible products and for cash.  In exchange for this service, the defendants would charge customers a fee that was derived from the fraudulent food stamp transaction.  The defendants would then transfer funds from the store’s bank account into separate bank accounts by structuring transactions to willfully avoid currency transaction reporting requirements.  Using this scheme, from April 2012 through May 2014, the defendants defrauded the government of over $1,000,000 in food stamp benefits.

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in coordination with the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control in investigating this matter.   Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Payne was in charge of the prosecution.

Updated March 23, 2016

Financial Fraud