Three men have been arrested, and at least 25 others are facing charges after authorities say they uncovered schemes in Ventura County to illegally exchange government food assistance benefits for cash.
Ventura County prosecutors say Eric Gabriel Suarez trafficked government benefits for about a year, while working at Avenue Mini Mart in Ventura. They say the Oxnard man stole more than $200,000, and is facing felony grand theft, and welfare fraud charges.
The investigators also arrested Cimitrio and Fernando Cervantes, saying they improperly cashed in Electronic Benefit Transfer credits for cash while working at Victor’s Market, in Fillmore. Cimitrio is also facing felony grand theft, and welfare charges, while Fernando is facing a misdemeanor welfare fraud charge.
The District Attorney’s office says 25 people who illegally sold their food benefits will face misdemeanor welfare fraud charges, with other possibly also ending up in court as the investigation continues.