Everything for Your Home's
Beauty, Comfort & Convenience 384-2123
704 Jamestown St, Columbia
Dr. Ronald P. Rogers
Support for your body's natural healing capabilities
Click here for details
Click here for information
Real Estate & Auction Co.
Duo County Telecom
Now Available Through
Your Cable Service!
GUN & PAWN
What's Going On
Info about the
Janice Holt Giles
and Henry Giles Society
Columbia Gas Dept.
GAS LEAK or GAS SMELL
24 hrs/ 365 days
270-384-2006 or 9-1-1
Call before you dig
Directory of Churches
phone numbers and more
for churches in Adair County
Louisville Business Owner sentenced for Food Stamp fraud
Former owner of the Meat Store also ordered to pay $545,000 restitution
Click on headline for complete story detailing investigation From U.S. Attorney's office
U.S. Department of Justice, Western District of Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The former owner of a Louisville specialty food store was sentenced today in United States District Court, by Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell, to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $545,000 restitution for committing Food Stamp fraud, announced United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman. There is no parole in the federal system.
> "Today's nearly three year prison sentence and $545,000 returned to victims, underscores our commitment to investigating and prosecuting criminals who steal from federal programs," stated United States Attorney Russell Coleman. "This is a crime against tax payers - we will seek to restore every stolen dime that was meant to help those in need."
Elias Estephane was convicted of defrauding a United States Department of Agriculture Program on November 9, 2017, following a four-day jury trial.
Estephane was the owner of the Meat Store located at 1066 South 28th Street and the Meat Store 2 located at 4835 Poplar Level Road. Both were specialty food stores focusing on meats and both were accepted as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Food Stamp retailers. SNAP is a program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide food-purchasing assistance to low-income individuals through the issue of (EBT) cards to recipients. Evidence at trial showed that on multiple occasions Estephane traded cash for SNAP benefits, in violation of program rules that only permit benefits to be exchanged for eligible food items. Estephane generally paid customers fifty cents on the dollar for their benefits.
In 2015, the USDA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began investigating the Meat Store's redemption of SNAP benefits. They targeted the Meat Store because it had a significantly higher level of redemption of SNAP benefits compared to similar stores in the area. Specifically, the Meat Store's month-to-month SNAP redemptions in 2015 were around 20 times the average redemptions from similar stores in the same geographic area.
During the course of the investigation, USDA and FBI sent two individuals into the Meat Store to attempt to sell SNAP benefits for cash. Between September 1, 2015, and July 12, 2016, the two individuals exchanged SNAP benefits for cash with defendant Estephane at the Meat Store on nine different occasions, eight of which were captured on video. Sometimes the individuals would present multiple SNAP EBT cards in different names during the undercover transactions and request cash from all of them.
During the trial, the United States submitted surveillance video of the Meat Store from four different days then compared transaction data with the video, flagging instances in which people spent $100 or more but left the store holding only one bag. Further the United States had five customer witnesses and one former employee testify.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda E. Gregory and Stephanie M. Zimdahl, with the assistance of paralegal Mary Kennedy, and was investigated by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
This story was posted on 2018-02-14 02:39:57
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.
To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.
More articles from topic Kentucky:
KY providing financial assistance to family foster caregivers
Marshall County High School shooting court information
KYEM State EOC monitoring heavy rain and flooding
Former Campbell Co. KY, District Court Judge pleads guilty
Sen. Max Wise's Legislative Update - Fri 9 Feb 2018
Bidding begins on batches of Big Bone bison
NY man posing as Publishers Clearing House rep pleads guilty
Applications for $10k Leopold Award due Apr 15
Kentucky Flu Epidemic Influenza-related deaths reach 100
Senator Max Wise's Legislative Update - Fri 2 Feb 2018
View even more articles in topic Kentucky
Click for Info
Bank of Columbia
If You're Thinking of Selling,
Let Us Do the Yelling
Principal Broker & Auctioneer
Burton Real Estate
& Auction Service
Call Us For Appraisals
Click for Listings
On This Site
or Click Here
The Best of
Local Stories of
The Greatest Generation
Order Book or e-Book
See who's celebrating
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Special Events List
Find Great Stuff in
Antiques, Help Wanted,
Autos, Real Estate,
Legal Notices, More...
ColumbiaMagazine.com content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Contact us: Columbia Magazine and columbiamagazine.com are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.