COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky store operator who was convicted of defrauding the food stamp program out of nearly half a million dollars has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports Phyllis Tyler was found guilty earlier this year in federal court of food stamp fraud and money laundering charges.

The 49-year-old woman managed and operated a Covington store that sold items including wigs, makeup, T-shirts, beer and snacks.

Testimony revealed that Tyler or an employee bought electronic benefit cards for half the value. She then redeemed the full benefits through transactions at her store, triggering a direct reimbursement to her business bank account. She also took cards to retailers like Kroger and Sam's Club and purchased food stamp-eligible items.

Investigators began noticing suspicious transactions in 2012.


Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer,