A Wilkinson County man was ordered to pay $4.6 million in restitution in a five-year EBT card fraud conspiracy.
Elbert Eugene Shinholster was also sentenced Friday to 40 months in prison and three years supervised release.
That's according to Sue McKinney of the U.S. Attorney's office in Macon.
EBT cards are intended to provide healthy foods for the needy. But two years ago, Shinholdster and five other people were accused of conspiring to cash out the cards for money.
Wilkinson Sheriff Richard Chatman said an undercover investigation focused on Shinholster's Grocery & Meat Market in Irwinton and Northwind Mini-Mart in McIntyre.
Chatman said the store owners gave the cardholders a seventy/thirty split of the proceeds.
Investigators went undercover and cashed out cards at both businesses, according to Chatman.
He said investigators believe Shinholster's committed more than $4.5 million in fraud between 2006 and 2011.
Investigators seized more than $250,000 in cash from the stores and the suspects' homes, the sheriff said.
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