$3.8M stolen in Southern California public assistance fraud scheme

California Connection

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — Four people have pleaded not guilty to felony charges in connection to a scheme where more than $3.8 million worth of public assistance benefits was allegedly stolen at food markets in Southern California.

The four face multiple counts including grand theft and money laundering.

Prosecutors say markets in Oxnard fraudulently accepted the benefits from around July 2016 until August 2019.

The scam was uncovered following an investigation by Ventura County authorities and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The department oversees the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income families buy food. In California, the program is called CalFresh.

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