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Grocery store owners face fraud charges in food stamp scheme

March 13, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a New Jersey man and his adult daughter fraudulently exchanged more than $885,000 in food stamps for cash at a grocery store they operated.

Maria Teresa Venegas and her father, Manuel Venegas, were each charged Monday with fraud. The Newark residents were each released on $200,000 unsecured bond following a court hearing.

The two defendants have managed Jenny’s Deli in Newark since November 2011. Each faces a 20-year sentence if convicted.

Prosecutors say the illegal exchanges have occurred since 2011. They cited the high volume of food stamp redemptions at the store and say an undercover agent engaged in roughly 20 “purchases” at the store in which one or both defendants allegedly exchanged cash for food stamp benefits.

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