Final Defendant Sentenced in Food Stamp Fraud Schemes in Wilkinson County
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 05, 2013|
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that Lashaundra Evans, 32 of Wilkinson County, Georgia, was sentenced on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, by the Honorable Marc T. Treadwell, United States District Judge, in Macon, Georgia, to serve 12 months and one day imprisonment and to pay $14,460 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the result of her plea of guilty on July 29, 2013, to federal charges of one count of food stamp fraud.
Ms. Evans was part of a food stamp fraud scheme involving Elbert Eugene Shinholster, 77, also of Wilkinson County, who was sentenced on October 18, 2013 to serve 40 months in prison and to pay restitution in the amount of $4,680,557.20 for food stamp fraud and money laundering. Mr. Shinholster was the owner and operator of Shinholster's Grocery and Meat Market located in Irwinton, Georgia. He illegally conspired with almost 2,000 food stamp recipients to defraud the food stamp program. As part of the scheme, each food stamp recipient would provide Mr. Shinholster with an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card and personal identification number. Mr. Shinholster would then run the EBT card through the point of sale machine administered by the Food Stamp Program as though the cardholder had purchased food, when, in fact, the cardholder got cash instead. Mr. Shinholster admitted that he knew that an EBT card was to be used to purchase food only and not to be sold for cash. The illegal EBT debit would include an additional 30 percent of the cash amount as profit for Mr. Shinholster.
In addition to Lashaundra Evans, 15 other defendants from Wilkinson County pled guilty to participating with Mr. Shinholster in the food stamp fraud and have been sentenced: Tracey McDowell, Kristi Northern, Keisha Robinson, Sheena Sanders, Krystal Allen, Angelina Curry, Brandy Day, Cassandra Harris, Willie Harris, Jazmin Hunter, Janine Jackson, Shanirah Jackson, Shamirah Jackson, Karrie Jackson, and Pamela Johnson.
“Ms. Evans took advantage of a worthwhile system that was set up to help people who need a hand, just like her and her children. What is unfortunate about these cases is that this type of fraud unquestionably becomes the topic of conversation as opposed to the many positive stories and many good people who genuinely benefit from the food stamp program,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.
In a second, separate food stamp fraud and money laundering case in Wilkinson County, Alfred Boyd previously entered a plea of guilty to Food Stamp Fraud and was sentenced on October 31, 2013, to serve 52 months in prison and to pay restitution in the amount of $800,000 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Boyd owned the Northwind Mini Mart in Mcintyre, Georgia. Between December 2009 and March 2011, he conspired with his niece, Chiquita Boyd, and a number of food stamp recipients, to defraud the Food Stamp Program. Each food stamp recipient would provide Mr. Boyd with an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card and personal identification number and tell the defendant how much cash he or she wanted in exchange for EBT benefits. Mr. Boyd would then run the EBT card through the point of sale machine administered by the Food Stamp Program as though the cardholder had purchased food, when, in fact, the cardholder got cash instead. Mr. Boyd admitted that he knew that an EBT card was to be used to purchase food only and not to be sold for cash. Mr. Boyd would retain a percentage of the cash amount the food stamp recipient requested.
Eleven other defendants from Wilkinson County pled guilty to participating with Mr. Boyd in the food stamp fraud and have been sentenced: Tracey McDowell, Keisha Robinson, Sheena Sanders, Krystal Allen, Brandy Day, Lashaundra Evans, Cassandra Harris, Willie Harris, Jazmin Hunter, Karrie Jackson, and Pamela Johnson. Many of the defendants participated with both Mr. Shinholster and Mr. Boyd in food stamp fraud.
“These were cases of greed and serious crimes,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. “Honest and law abiding citizens are fed up with people who use deceit and fraud to obtain money that belongs to others for their own personal benefit. We are pleased with the successful resolution of these investigations due to the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners.”
The cases were investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Office. The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Solis, Danial Bennett, and Julia Bowen.
Inquiries regarding the case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2603.