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9 store owners indicted in food stamp fraud

Tuesday - 9/17/2013, 6:01pm  ET

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say nine Baltimore store owners have been indicted on charges that they received nearly $7 million in payments for food stamp transactions for which they did not provide any food.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore said Tuesday that the store owners redeemed food stamp benefits in exchange for cash. The indictments were returned last week and unsealed Tuesday.

Authorities say the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as the Food Stamp Program, gives recipients a card similar to a debit card to buy approved food items from participating retailers.

The indictments allege that the defendants typically paid half the value of the EBT benefits in cash.

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