3 women who operated convenience stores in Los Angeles County, California are charged with a $6 million food stamp scam, NBC reports.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney announced the arrests on Friday. Maria Teresa Ramirez, 37, who owned several stores in Palmdale and Littlerock, is charged with eight counts of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud.
Her 54-year-old mother, Maria Salgado, is also facing seven counts of SNAP fraud involving a convenience store she owned in Palmdale. Also arrested was Yessica Garay, 37, who worked for Ramirez at her Palmdale store before taking over the business.
The three women are accused of illegally changing SNAP food stamp benefits for cash. The women allegedly charged eligible food purchases to the benefit cards and collected fees for the transactions.
Fourteen other people have been charged for allegedly using their SNAP cards to get cash at the stores.
The women face nine years in state prison, while the other 14 defendants could face a maximum of three years in county jail, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images