CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Three employees of two convenience stores in Southeast Missouri are facing federal charges for allegedly misusing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
According to the Department of Justice, Larry White, Sr., 62, of Sikeston; Erica White, 34, of Sikeston; and Avis White, 29, of Oran were indicted by a federal grand jury in Cape Girardeau on five felony counts. Court documents show that Erica and Avis White are Larry White's children.
Investigators allege the three conspired to profit by exchanging SNAP benefits for lesser amounts of cash, and by allowing SNAP benefits to be used to get cash and use it on ineligible items. Investigators say it began around December 2010 and continued to about March 2014.
The accused work at Stop-N-Go Fish Market in Sikeston and Stop-N-Go Mini Mart in New Madrid. They are family owned businesses primarily managed by Larry White and Erica White, according to court documents.
The program, commonly known as food stamps, are only to be applied to the sale of eligible food item. They are not permitted to exchange or redeem the benefits for cash or other ineligible items like household goods, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, cell phones, or other non-food items.
If convicted, each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.