Business owners charged with food stamp fraud - WNEM TV 5

Business owners charged with food stamp fraud

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Authorities say three Flint business were illegally using state-funded bridge cards to further supply their private restaurants and catering operations.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton held a news conference Wednesday morning to announce charges against Paul Verdun, 63, Reginald Clements, 51 and Beverly Biggs-Leavy, 54.

All three are charged with four counts of food service fraud of more than $1,000 and face 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

"Food stamp fraud is a serious crime that my office does not take lightly," Leyton said.

Leyton said a task force began investigating after learning Biggs-Levy paid EBT card owners pennies on the dollar to use their cards at various grocery stores for bulk amount of food supplies for her catering business.

During the investigation, officials uncovered that Verdun and Clements were performing similar illegal actions for their restaurants, Chip's Supper Club in Burton and Chip's Shrimp and Fish in Flint.

Leyton said 40 more people could also face felony charges for the selling of their EBT cards.

Leyton hopes these charges will be a warning for other businesses and people that may be defrauding the state's taxpayer-funded food stamp program.

"We cannot and we will not allow individuals to fraudulently use taxpayer-funded services for the needy to line their own pockets," Leyton said.

The State of Michigan DHS, and its office of Inspector General, aided the investigation, according to officials.

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