Store Owners Plead Guilty to Food Stamp Fraud

Couple exchanged SNAP benefits for cash at less than face value of the benefits, authorities said

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013  |  Updated 11:45 AM EDT
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A Windsor Mill, Md., couple has pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud in a plot to redeem the benefits in exchange for cash.

Amara Cisse, 50, and his wife, Fanta Keita, 45, entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Baltimore.

Cisse owned Simbo Food Mart in Baltimore, and Keita worked there with her husband.

Prosecutors say Cisse became an authorized retailer in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps. According to court papers, the couple and seven other store owners redeemed SNAP benefits for cash, and split the money with food stamp recipients, reported WBAL.com.

Cisse and Keita engaged in the scheme from November 2010 to May 2013, authorities said. The two obtained more than $600,000 in payments for food sales that never occurred.

They were indicted by a federal grand jury in September, according to WBAL.

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