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Press Release

Shinholster Sentenced For Food Stamp Fraud And Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Elbert Eugene Shinholster, age 77, of Wilkinson County, Georgia, was sentenced on Friday, October 18, 2013, by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, Chief United States District Judge, in Macon, Georgia, to serve forty (40) months imprisonment and to pay $4,680,557.20 in restitution to the food stamp program, Department of Health and Services, as the result of his plea of guilty on January 30, 2012, to federal charges of one count each of food stamp fraud and money laundering.

As part of his plea of guilty, Mr. Shinholster admitted that, as the owner and operator of Shinholster’s Grocery and Meat Market located in Irwinton, Georgia, he illegally conspired with almost 2,000 food stamp recipients to defraud the food stamp program.  As part of the scheme each food stamp recipient would provide Mr. Shinholster with an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card and personal identification number.  Mr. Shinholster would then run the EBT card through the point of sale machine administered by the Food Stamp Program as though the cardholder had purchased food when, in fact, the cardholder got cash instead.  Mr. Shinholster admitted that he knew that an EBT card was to be used to purchase food only and not to be sold for cash.  The illegal EBT debit would include an additional thirty (30) per cent of the cash amount as profit for Mr. Shinholster.

“The food stamp program was established for the noble purpose of providing food for needy families, especially the children of those families.  Not only did Mr. Shinholster defraud the program, he damaged it by providing ammunition to those detractors who believe that this type of government program is rife with fraud and should be eliminated.  With every dollar that Mr. Shinholster took for himself, a needy child in Georgia could have been fed,” said United States Attorney Michael Moore.

“This was a case of greed and a serious crime,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Solis and Danial Bennett.

Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney's Office at (478) 621-2602.

Updated February 19, 2015