Mass. store owner pleaded guilty to $3.6M food stamp fraud

Vida Ofori Causey's store had few eligible items, but posted many large transactions

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of about $3.6 million in food stamp benefits through a scheme she ran out of the convenience store she owns.

The Telegram & Gazette reports Vida Ofori Causey, of Worcester, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges including conspiracy to commit benefits fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors say 45-year-old Causey ran a scheme in which she and two store clerks paid out 50 cents cash for every food-stamp dollar, then submitted the full value of the benefits to the government for reimbursement.

Prosecutors say the small store stocked little benefits-eligible food yet had tens of thousands of high-dollar food-stamp transactions.

Causey’s lawyer says prosecutors recommended a four-year sentence as part of the plea agreement. She’s scheduled for sentencing in March.

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Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com

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