Owner of Lakeland Market Sentenced to Federal Prison for Food Stamp Fraud
TAMPA, FL—United States District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Randolph Goosby (53, Lakeland) to two years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in connection with providing cash in return for food stamps. The Court also ordered Goosby to forfeit $4,312.35 seized from his business bank account, which was traceable to proceeds of the offense, and entered a money judgment in the amount of $782,291.65, the proceeds of the fraud. He pleaded guilty on January 8, 2015.
According to court documents, Goosby was the sole owner of 8th Street Supermarket in Lakeland, which accepted Electronic Benefit Transfer or “EBT” cards. EBT cards are used by individuals who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to make food purchases. The 8th Street Supermarket was known as a place where SNAP participants could go to exchange EBT funds for cash, also known as “cash back.” This is specifically prohibited under the SNAP program. Goosby charged SNAP recipients 50 cents for every dollar that he provided as part of this illegal “cash back” scheme.
The 8th Street Supermarket did not use barcode scanners to aid in the checkout process, and there were no carts or baskets available for customers to carry purchases while inside the store. Rather, there was one cash register with a small counter. Most of the store’s interior space was either used for storing miscellaneous items or was unused. It was often closed during normal business hours and appeared to have virtually no legitimate food customers. Between November 2010 and July 2014, the 8th Street Supermarket conducted more than 11,000 SNAP EBT transactions totaling $964,390. From March 2011 to July 2014, it exceeded the average redemptions of the four closest SNAP-authorized convenience stores by $786,604.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lakeland Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelley Howard-Allen and Mark Bini.