32 people charged with $2 million food stamp fraud in Youngstown

Investigators believe the fraud began in the summer of 2010 in Youngstown

Food stamps

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A federal grand jury indicted 32 people for their roles in a $2 million food-stamp fraud conspiracy, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon.

The indictment charges that beginning on or around June 2010 and continuing to October 2014, the following individuals knowingly conspired to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, specifically the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The object of the conspiracy, according to investigators, was to defraud SNAP by converting illegally obtained SNAP benefits into money that the defendants, their co-conspirators, and designees could keep.

The following people have been charged in the case:

George Rafidi

Age: 61

Warren, OH

Charles R. Thomas

Age: 45

Youngstown, OH

Vincent E. Poyssick, Sr.

Age: 67

Youngstown, OH

Alecia D. Gayles

Age: 33

Youngstown, OH

Sophia L. Hendrix

Age: 37

Campbell, OH

Tashauna J. Grissett

Age: 27

Youngstown, OH

Donna S. Hendrix

Age: 42

Youngstown, OH

Katrina M. Haskins

Age: 32

Youngstown, OH

Deidra Wilson

Age: 29

Youngstown, OH

Faydra Spikes-Hill

Age: 36

Austintown, OH

Jennifer A. Lee

Age: 29

Youngstown, OH

Cheryle O’Neal

Age: 23

Warren, OH

Torrie L. Crump

Age: 40

Youngstown, OH

Yoletta S. Alvarado

Age: 39

Youngstown, OH

Tracey M. Eley

Age: 53

Youngstown, OH

Latise Mahinparvar

Age: 27

Youngstown, OH

Allison Harris

Age: 28

Youngstown, OH

Brittany N. Littlejohn

Age: 26

Youngstown, OH

Tshombe P. Miller

Age: 32

Youngstown, OH

Monique D. Sutton

Age: 32

Youngstown, OH

Lisa West

Age: 33

Youngstown, OH

Telisha Stanford

Age: 34

Youngstown, OH

Joann Averette

Age: 55

Youngstown, OH

Floyayeshia Robinson

Age: 25

Youngstown, OH

Herman L. Taylor, Jr.

Age: 46

Campbell, OH

Earlene Williams

Age: 41

Youngstown, OH

Doreen Mayberry

Age: 49

Youngstown, OH

Jessica Dickerson

Age: 28

Youngstown

Tiffany Williams

Age: 39

Boardman, OH

Harriett Randolph

Age: 49

Youngstown, OH

Jamalia Abrams

Age: 25

Unknown, OH

Tearra Dates

Age: 32

Boardman, OH

Investigators said that around March 18, 2010, George Rafidi filed articles of incorporation for Ghazy, LLC, doing business as Breaden Market, a convenience store located in Youngstown. On March 31, 2010, Rafidi completed and submitted a SNAP application for stores, for Breaden Market to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Breaden Market then began operating in or about April 2010, according to the indictment.

Investigators say Breaden Market, a convenience store in Youngstown, was part of a food stamp fraud ring.
Investigators say Breaden Market, a convenience store in Youngstown operated by George Rafidi, was part of a fraudulent food stamp operation.

Police think that it was part of the conspiracy that SNAP beneficiaries went to Breaden Market and obtained cash and prohibited items, such as alcohol and tobacco, in exchange for their SNAP benefits. Rafidi fraudulently redeemed SNAP benefits and caused money to be deposited into Breaden Market’s bank accounts, according to the indictment.

During the course of the conspiracy, Rafidi and Breaden Market submitted claims for more than  $2 million in fraudulently obtained SNAP benefits, according to the indictment.

Count 2 of the indictment alleges the above-named defendants knowingly acquired USDA FNS SNAP benefits through the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards in exchange for U.S. currency and other ineligible items.

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