13 people in Darlington County indicted on food stamp fraud charges

SC fighting food stamp fraud as part of pilot program (Image 1)

COLUMBIA, SC – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the Darlington Grand Jury returned indictments on November 19, 2015 against thirteen (13) Darlington County residents. All are charged with one count of Fraudulent Acquisition or Use of Food Stamps:

Kendra Benjamin (DOB 1988), Hartsville
Erica Carter (DOB 1987), Hartsville
Terry Cotton (DOB 1981), Hartsville
Anna Hawkins (DOB 1959), Hartsville
Teresa Hawkins-McKay (DOB 1978), Darlington
Auna Holloway (DOB 1987), Hartsville
April Huggins (DOB 1980), Hartsville
Brenda Johnson (DOB 1952), Hartsville
Olivia Lawson (DOB 1968), Hartsville
Lakeisha McDonald (DOB 1991), Hartsville
Shermeka Ross (DOB 1981), Hartsville
Sandra Samuel (DOB 1972), Hartsville
Barbara Tucker (DOB 1961), Hartville

Fraudulent Acquisition or Use of Food Stamps is a felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum of five years in prison and or a fine of up to $500.

Assistant Attorney General Nicole T. Wetherton will prosecute the cases. Special Agent Condie Johnson from the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) conducted the investigations.

The indictments are the result of a joint effort between the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Social Services in an effort to reduce fraud. In addition, DSS oversees the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program (formerly known as the food stamps program), which helps provide food to more than 100,000 low-income families across the state.

A total of 77 individuals have been indicted from Darlington County for Fraudulent Acquisition of Food Stamps since July of this year, and 55 have pleaded guilty. Approximately $229,000 in restitution has been ordered back to the State of South Carolina from Darlington County alone.

Almost all of charges stem from allegations that the Dollar Saver Grocery, formerly known as Get ‘N Go, located in Hartsville, allowed individuals to use their EBT card containing taxpayer-funded SNAP benefits to obtain $ .50 – .75 in cash on the dollar instead of qualifying food purchases permitted by the guidelines of the program.

Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

—The information above comes from a submitted press release.

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