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Press Release

Erie Man Charged with Fraud and Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa. – A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of food stamp fraud, access device fraud and identity theft, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The eight-count indictment named John Alan Vanhouwe, 56, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment presented to the court, Vanhouwe, who owned and operated a mobile convenience store in Erie, allowed customers to pay credit accounts with food stamps and used a database he created to gain access to customers’ food stamp accounts so he could pay down their credit accounts at his store without their knowledge.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 80 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated October 11, 2018

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft