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Press Release

Guam Seafood Store Owner Sentenced to 21 Months Imprisonment for Food Stamp Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Districts of Guam & the Northern Mariana Islands

Hagatña, Guam – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendant Basiano B. Joysa, age 47 from Dededo, Guam was sentenced in the United States District Court of Guam to 21 months imprisonment, with credit for time served, for Unauthorized Use of Food Stamp Benefits, in violation of 7 U.S.C. § 2024(b).  The Court also ordered three years of supervised release following imprisonment, $250,000 in restitution, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.  In addition, defendants convicted of trafficking SNAP benefits are ineligible to receive SNAP benefits and may not participate in the program as vendors.

Basiano Joysa and Hilaria Willy owned and operated Angarap Fish Mart (“Angarap”), a small specialty seafood store in Dededo.  On October 2001, Angarap was authorized by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to participate in the agency’s program known as SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program.  SNAP is a 100% federally funded program that provides financial aid to eligible recipients for use at authorized retail food stores.  Under the program, SNAP recipients receive electronic benefits transfer (“EBT”) authorization cards that operate as debit cards.  Each month authorized recipients are issued certain amounts of SNAP benefits that can be accessed only with their EBT cards and encrypted personal identification numbers.  Under the program, Joysa and Willy knew that SNAP benefits could not be accepted or redeemed in exchange for credit or loans, and that SNAP recipients could not be discriminated against by charging them interest.

From January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2013, Joysa and Willy acquired SNAP benefits in exchange for extending credit to SNAP recipients and payment on their credit accounts.  They also charged SNAP recipients who purchased merchandise on credit with a 1.2 percent fee for every credit transaction.  Willy previously pled guilty and will be sentenced on February 21, 2023.

“Nutritional benefits provide essential support to low-income individuals nationwide,” stated United States Attorney Anderson.  “Any unlawful fees and interest imposed by retailers diminishes the impact of this important program.  We will continue to uphold the accountability and integrity of SNAP through targeted prosecutions in our districts.”

“SNAP is taxpayer-funded and intended to help the disadvantaged,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “The FBI, along with our partners in law enforcement, is committed to investigating the misuse or abuse of any government-funded program.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the USDA- Office of Inspector General (USDA) investigated this case.  The case was prosecuted by Marivic P. David, First Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Guam.

Contact

Carmela S. Rapadas, Public Affairs Officer

Office: 671.472.7332 | Email: carmela.rapadas@usdoj.gov

Updated January 10, 2023