C-store Owner, Manager Charged With Fraud

The owner of a c-store in Holyoke, Mass., and a manager there were both charged in federal court recently with conspiracy, food stamp fraud, money laundering and wire fraud, relating to their scheme to commit food stamp benefit trafficking.

Kathleen Lamson, 56, of Enfield, Conn., and Jorge Martinez, 39, of Springfield, Mass., were charged in a multi-count indictment with conspiracy, food stamp fraud, engaging in monetary transactions and wire fraud, said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Brian L. Haaser, special agent in charge of the United States Department of Agriculture - Northeast Region; and Susan Dukes, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office.

The indictment alleges that Lamson, identified as owner of L&M Market in Holyoke, Mass., and Martinez, the manager of the store, conspired to commit, and did commit, food stamp fraud, wire fraud and other offenses by unlawfully purchasing food stamp benefits for cash at a discounted value and redeeming the full value of the food stamp benefits from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and engaging in monetary transactions to continue the fraud and to avoid detection.

If convicted on these charges, Lamson and Martinez each face up to 20 years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The case was investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett of Ortiz's Springfield Branch Office.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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