Empire store owner pleads guilty in food stamps case

12/10/2012 5:53 PM

12/10/2012 11:43 PM

An Empire convenience store owner on Monday pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal food stamp program of about $1 million by cashing out electronic benefits transfer, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Federal prosecutors said Mark Edward Powell, 63, of Empire, defrauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food stamp program from April 2009 through August 2011.

Powell owned and operated Santa Fe Discount, a mini-market that accepted food stamps through the EBT card system. The prosecutors said Powell required the card holders to purchase some over-priced food products, then he would give the remaining dollar amount on the card in cash and keep a percentage for himself.

Powell is scheduled to be sentenced March 18. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service