Monroe grocery store owner, workers sentenced for $7 million SNAP/WIC benefits fraud conspiracy
MONROE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Monroe grocery store owner and workers were sentenced Monday for their roles in a $7 million scheme to exchange SNAP and WIC benefits to customers for cash and ineligible items.
Kimberlia Harris, 46, of Monroe, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $7 million in restitution; Angela Woods, 28, of Monroe, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $848,633 in restitution; and Willie Mae Woods-Jackson, 43, of Dallas, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $337,220.76 restitution for one count of criminal conspiracy by U.S. District Judge Robert G. James. Juanita Woods, 38, of Monroe, was also sentenced by Judge James to five years of probation and ordered to pay $209,878 restitution for one count of theft of government money. According to evidence presented at the guilty pleas, the defendants conspired to provide customers cash and ineligible items for their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Women Infant and Children (WIC) program benefits from August 2008 to early 2014 at Dee’s Grocery Store in Monroe where Harris was the owner, Angela Woods was a manager and cashier, Woods-Jackson was a cashier, and Juanita Woods was a cashier. During the time the scheme took place, they acquired approximately $7 million.
“This benefit program was set up to help those most in need in our communities and not as a cash grab for people seeking to make a quick buck,” Finley stated. “Business owners have a responsibility to administer these federal programs honestly and fairly. Not doing so will result in prosecution.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell prosecuted the case.