A Georgia grocery store owner and 10 of his customers are headed to prison after pleading guilty to defrauding the federal food stamp program.
According to the US Department of Justice, the grocery store owner – 75-year-old Garland Alford – pleaded guilty to two counts of acquiring SNAP benefits by fraud Wednesday.
Alford is the former co-owner of Lake Flea Market & FDR Grocery south of Donalsonville.
Additionally, the 10 customers each pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully transferring food stamp benefits.
They were identified as: Jeanie Sheffield, 34, of Colquitt, GA, Kaneesha Wooten, 23, of Bainbridge, GA, Wendy Mitchell Prickett, 44, of Nashville, TN, and Antonio Gardner, 35, Victoria Henry, 47, Jennifer Johnson, 30, Renee Kimble, 41, Crystal Maxwell, 36, Rosanna Roupe, 33, and Kayla Wallace, 26, all of Donalsonville.
The DOJ says law enforcement opened an investigation after hearing Alford was giving cash for food stamps and allowing SNAP recipients to buy ineligible items.
Undercover transactions showed the average purchase at Alford’s store was around $56, while the average purchase in Georgia is around $7.
Alford faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The customers face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.