Cruz Gonzalez, and her daughter, Fabiola Garcia, of Shelby, Michigan, are convicted of food stamp fraud according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles. Gonzalez was sentenced to 33 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Gordon J. Quist. Her daughter, Garcia, was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Both were ordered to pay restitution to the Department of Agriculture in the amount of $722,149, the total amount of the fraud between February 2008 and January 2014. The two conspired to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, by illegally exchanging SNAP benefits for cash, cell phones, and other ineligible items at La Fortuna Carniceria in Shelby. U.S. Attorney Miles stated, “The federal government cannot tolerate the theft of federal program benefits meant to aid low income individuals meet daily nutritional needs. Such theft undermines the public’s confidence in the SNAP program and diminishes the government’s ability to provide food assistance to those citizens most in need.”
Gonzalez and Garcia were two of three conspirators charged and convicted in the conspiracy. The third, Gisela Mendoza, also a daughter of Gonzalez, was sentenced in November to six months in prison, two months of home detention, and restitution of an equal amount.