Authorities said Tuesday that 54 people have been charged with opening purported grocery stores in Savannah, Macon, LaGrange, the metro Atlanta area and elsewhere and having them approved as WIC and food stamp vendors. WIC is a federally-funded program that provides nutrition assistance for expecting and new low-income mothers.
Prosecutors say defendants solicited residents of low-income areas to exchange benefits for cash, then redeemed the benefits they illegally purchased. Defendants in that indictment are charged with mail and wire fraud and money laundering.
Authorities say 34 more people are accused of selling their WIC vouchers and food stamp benefits for cash. The defendants accused of selling benefits are charged with conspiracy.
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