Three people in Metro Detroit face felony charges for their role in an interstate food stamp fraud ring.
On Wednesday (May 24) search warrants were executed on eight locations throughout Metro Detroit, leading to the arrest and arraignment of the three individuals on felony charges.
The three people are Travis Newby,39, Detroit, Derriun Williams, 23, Detroit, and Vanessa Williams, 47, of Highland Park.
All three have been charged for their connection to a substantial interstate food stamp fraud enterprise allegedly responsible for thefts totaling over $4 million.
The purported food stamp fraud ring was alleged to have illegally obtained electronic benefit (EBT) card data from 8,000 cardholders, mostly outside Michigan and primarily in California.
Officials say the operation allegedly illegally reported EBT cards in Michigan with the stolen data and then used the cards for fraudulent purchases from Metro Detroit Sam’s Club stores.
“Organized Retail Crime isn’t just shoplifting,” said Michigan Attorney General Nessel. “It’s a highly involved and orchestrated criminal enterprise that costs Michigan businesses and consumers millions of dollars each year. I’m incredibly proud that through our partnership with Walmart and many local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies that, we were able to identify and hold these bad actors accountable.”
“I anticipate continued success as a result of our partnership with businesses and local law enforcement in our efforts to confront these criminal enterprises head on, and in turn, save our businesses and residents money.”
Nessel announced initial results from a significant and ongoing investigation launched by the department’s newly established Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Unit operating with Michigan State Police as the “Force” team.
Search warrants resulted in substantial material seizures related to the alleged crime and additional potential suspects.
Due to the ongoing nature and large scale of the investigation, the department expects more defendants to be named as the investigation continues.
“It is collaborations like this that benefit all Michiganders by helping ensure that funds for public assistance programs are available to the residents who truly need them and that taxpayer dollars are spent on its intended purpose,” said Alan Kimichik, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General.