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Hamtramck, Detroit, Warren stores accused of food stamp fraud

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HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The Bengal American Grocery store in Hamtramck was closed Tuesday afternoon after the owner was charged with food stamp fraud.

Overall, federal and state investigators arrested 11 people Tuesday across Hamtramck, Detroit and Warren.

"Right across the street, that house got raided. A house on Belfast got raided. Everywhere around here got raided because it's about time they got them people," said Layne Hiller, of Hamtramck. "I'm seeing them selling booze and cigarettes with their bridge cards, and then they're giving them money back for their bridge cards."

It is alleged owners and employees at several stores where bridge cards are accepted were exchanging benefits for cash and selling items not approved by government assistance programs.

Investigators say one store alone exceeded $1 million in fraudulent claims.

"Michigan families are working harder than ever for every tax dollar. Today's charges should send the message that we will not stand by while tax dollars are being stolen," said Attorney General Bill Schuette in a statement.

The suspects were arraigned in federal court. Many were released on $10,000 unsecured bonds.


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