Authorities look into records of East St. Louis markets after food stamp fraud allegations

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 20 at 4:40 PM

EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Federal investigators are now digging deep into the records of two Metro East markets in an alleged food stamp fraud investigation.

Agents carried out raids Thursday at the stores in East St. Louis and a house in St. Charles.

On Friday, federal agents did not return to the Garden Grill Markets in East St. Louis and the doors to both locations were open for business. But it was hardly business as usual.

A clerk inside said the store is no longer accepting food stamp cards, but was doing business for customers. The owners of the stores were nowhere to be found.

Another clerk said it was not fair to see the federal raid by agents from the IRS and department of agriculture on Thursday.

During the raid, records were cleared out and labeled as evidence in what sources say is a food stamp fraud investigation.

Past scams have involved paying $0.50 cents on the dollar for entitlement cards.

U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton on Friday wouldn’t comment on the case, but didn’t hold back on his thoughts about ripping off those who need the government  today wouldn’t comment on the case, but didn’t hold back on his thoughts about ripping off those who need the government program.

“That’s a national phenomenon. It personally disgusts me the number of people who want to steal from programs that are there to help poor the needy the sick and the frail,” he said.

Federal investigators remain quiet as to just how much trouble the stores in East St. Louis may be in.

Click here for a link to see other News 4 investigations into food stamp fraud.

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