Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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More than 50 indicted in alleged food stamp fraud in Georgia

A number of Georgians have been indicted recently on charges of defrauding the federal government. They are suspected of participating in one of the largest federal food program frauds ever. Fifty-four people were indicted in the alleged scheme involving the WIC and food stamp programs. According to the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, the alleged behavior of the accused is akin to stealing from the federal government.

According to prosecutors, the accused had set up fake grocery stores across the state and persuaded people from neighboring areas to sell their food stamps and vouchers for a fraction of their actual value. These stores are now shut down, according to authorities. Prosecutors claim that a husband and wife team was listed as owners of every store involved in the alleged scheme. According to those involved with the investigation, the alleged scheme was so complex that nothing similar to it had ever been seen before.

Penalties for federal crimes may vary depending on the gravity of the crime and the number of people affected by it. However, there is little doubt that federal offenses are treated very seriously and carry serious penalties, especially when government funds are involved.

The federal justice system grinds on, and once an indictment in obtained, a trial often occurs at some point. Atlanta residents facing federal charges should not take them lightly and should begin working on their defense as soon as they become aware of the charges against them. An indictment is not the same as a conviction, and the accused has the right to defend themselves if they so choose. Otherwise, an experienced defense attorney may be able to lay out other options for them, depending on their specific circumstances.

Source: WSB-TV, "Dozens indicted in massive federal food program fraud scheme," June 11, 2014

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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