13 Darlington Co. residents indicted on food stamp fraud charges - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

13 Darlington Co. residents indicted on food stamp fraud charges

Source: DSS website Source: DSS website

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Darlington Grand Jury returned indictments on Thursday, November 19, 2015 against 13 Darlington County residents for food stamp fraud charges, according to a news release from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

The following people are all charged with one count of fraudulent acquisition or use of food stamps:

  • Kendra Benjamin, age 27, of Hartsville
  • Erica Carter, age 28, of Hartsville
  • Terry Cotton, age 34, of Hartsville
  • Anna Hawkins, age 56, of Hartsville
  • Teresa Hawkins-McKay, age 37, of Darlington
  • Auna Holloway, age 28, of Hartsville
  • April Huggins, age 35, of Hartsville
  • Brenda Johnson, age 63, of Hartsville
  • Olivia Lawson, age 47, of Hartsville
  • Lakeisha McDonald, age 24, of Hartsville
  • Shermeka Ross, age 34, of Hartsville
  • Sandra Samuel, age 43, of Hartsville
  • Barbara Tucker, age 54, of Hartville

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

Fraudulent acquisition or use of food stamps is a felony offense that can carry a maximum of five years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $500.

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

The indictments are the product of a joint effort between the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Social Services in an effort to cut fraud. In addition, DSS manages 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 South Carolina.

Since July of this year, 77 individuals from Darlington County have been indicted for food stamp fraud and 55 have pleaded guilty. Close to $229,000 in restitution has been ordered back to the State of South Carolina from Darlington County alone.

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

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