In Waco today, 33-year-old Jennifer Hailes of Copperas Cove, TX, was sentenced to six months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $6,918.42 restitution for fraudulently using her Lone Star Card benefits announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
In addition to Hailes, United States District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. sentenced 34-year-old LaToya Lewis to five years probation including six months electronic monitoring and ordered the Copperas Cove resident to pay $10,429.24 restitution for fraudulently using her Lone Star Card benefits.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the USDA Food Stamp Program, is the nation’s principal food assistance program which enables low income households to purchase food. The Lone Star Card is a USDA electronic benefits transfer card used in the State of Texas.
In December 2014, both defendants pleaded guilty to one count of benefits fraud. By pleading guilty, both admitted to illegally exchanging USDA SNAP benefits for cash on numerous occasions between 2010 and 2014 at Fong’s Seafood Market in Copperas Cove. Lone Star Cards and other personal identification information belonging to the defendants, as well as ledgers reflecting cash amounts paid to the defendants, were seized during the execution of a search warrant at the business in September 2013.
On October 29, 2014, Judge Smith sentenced store owner Fong Ing McCaffrey to three years probation and ordered her to pay $153,542.35 restitution for her role in the benefits fraud scheme.
This case was investigated by agents with the USDA-Office of Inspector General, Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Assistant United States Attorney Greg Gloff prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.