SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Schenectady Police say an elaborate scheme to steal food stamp money has netted 23 people, including the owner of a Schenectady grocery store.
The owner of Cheese Bakery and Grocery on State Street is accused of defrauding the food stamp program of close to $500,000 over a three year period. Police say the owner, Vishnunarine Singh, and his son, Elvin Singh, used EBT cards to buy food stamp benefits at a rate less than their full value, typically 50 to 70 percent. They then fraudulently used them to obtain cash instead of food items - as required.
The owner faces charges of Grand Larceny, Misuse of Food Stamps, and Falsifying Business Record. His son faced charges of Misuse of Food Stamps and Falsifying Business Record.
The investigation also led to the arrest of 21 food stamp recipients, each of whom misused their EBT food stamp card to obtain cash instead of food items on three or more occasion for over $100 each time. Each of the recipients arrested were charged with Misuse of Food Stamps and Petit Larceny for each alleged fraudulent transaction conducted.
The investigation is continuing and more arrests or civil penalties are possible.