Two Orlando residents were arrested Tuesday and charged with allegedly using hundreds of stolen identifications to steal nearly $200,000 from the state’s food stamp program, officials of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced.
Arrested Tuesday and booked into the Orange County Jail were Eurick Fenot Jr., 32, and Quinteria Williams, 22 Both were charged with public assistance fraud, organized scheme to defraud, criminal use of personal identification information, grand theft of more than $100,000, aggravated white collar crime and racketeering.
The arrests came after a yearlong investigation that began with the Florida Department of Children and Families and included the Department of Financial Services Division of Public Assistance Fraud, the DFS Division of Insurance Fraud, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Authorities, led by the DFS, alleged that Fenot and Williams used 684 stolen identifications, including Social Security numbers, to complete 800 fraudulent applications for food stamp cards, and then used those cards to collect $200,000 from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Cash for Cards” did not uncover evidence that the pair used the stolen Social Security numbers or identifications for other purposes, such as taking out fraudulent loans or opening fraudulent accounts, but the investigation is ongoing, said Department of Financial Services spokeswoman Ashley Carr. However, she cautioned, the numbers have been compromised.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigation any role an Apopka grocery store might have played in the scheme. Tuesday the federal agents executed a search warrant at Los Primos Meat Market in Apopka, Carr said.
“We applaud the efforts of CFO Atwater’s team and all of our partners in holding these individuals accountable for defrauding the state and robbing from taxpayers,” Andrew McClenahan, director of DCF’s Office of Public Benefit Integrity, stated in a news release issued by Atwater’s office.