Six people were arrested for EBT card fraud in Wilkinson County on Monday.
That's according to Sheriff Richard Chatman.
He says a joint investigation involving several agencies targeted two Wilkinson County stores for cashing out the cards for cash.
Chatman says the store owners gave the cardholders a seventy/thirty split of the proceeds.
He says Operation Handout focused on Shinholster's Grocery & Meat Market in Irwinton and Northwind Mini-Mart in McIntyre.
Investigators went undercover and cashed out cards at both businesses, according to Chatman.
He says investigators believe Shinholster's committed more than $4.5 million in fraud between 2006 and 2011, and Northwind committed more than $1.5 million dollars in fraud between 2009 and 2011.
Four people were arrestd in connection with Shinholster's Grocery:
75 year old Elbert Eugene Shinholster Sr. of Irwinton (Owner)
46 year old Elbert Eugene Shinholster Jr. of McIntyre
27 year old Rashaun Shinholster of McIntyre &
24 year old Ryan Shinholster of McIntyre
Two others were arrested in connection with Northwind Mini-Mart
57 year old Alfred Boyd of Irwinton (Owner) &
35 year old Chiquita Boyd of Irwinton
Chatman says investigators seized more than $250,000 in cash from the stores and the suspects' homes.
All six have been charged with financial transaction card fraud, theft by conversion and violating the state's Racketeer and Corruption Act.
All of the suspects except Elbert Shinholster Jr. are being held without bond.
The Wilkinson County Sheriff's Office, Ga. Dept. of Human Services, GBI, FBI, U.S. Treasury Dept., Ocmulgee Drug Task Force and the Ga. Dept. of Revenue were involved in the operation.