Brothers Craig and Hillary Nash face 20-year prison sentences and fines up to $250,000. The stores, Goodfellas Grocery and Goodfellas Grocery II, were investigated by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and the United State Department of Agriculture.
Investigators found the Nashes defrauded the food stamp program out of $2.7 million and allowed customers to exchange their food stamps for alcohol, tobacco products, and cash.
According to the indictment, the two businesses redeemed $2.7 million worth of fraudulently obtained benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as the food stamp program.
The indictment further alleges that the Nash brothers allowed individuals with SNAP benefits to exchange their food stamps for alcohol, tobacco, and cash and profited by charging a fee of approximately half the food stamp benefits from the debit card before providing a reduced amount of cash to the card holder.
Several bills are currently pending in the Louisiana Legislature that will enable ATC to suspend or revoke tobacco licenses held by businesses that conduct food stamp fraud. These bills are sponsored by Senator Jean-Paul Morrell and Representatives Jeff Arnold and Simone Champagne.