NC women admit using welfare food for their soul food restaurant

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — Two sisters from High Point have pleaded guilty to using funds from the government’s SNAP welfare program to buy food for their restaurant.

The two admitted to conspiracy to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was formerly the Food Stamp Program, by using other people’s benefit cards to buy food at local grocery stores, federal prosecutors said.

A November search of Becky and Mary’s Restuarant, owned by Rebecca Ingram and Mary Frances Ingram, found 21 such cards — none of which belonged to the Ingrams — and a notebook containing names, card numbers and PINs, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina.

An investigation showed that the Ingrams and others used more than 180 different cards to buy food for the restaurant, prosecutors said.

The soul food restaurant was featured in a lengthy Dec. 2010 article of Our State magazine.

“In exchange, EBT recipients were paid a reduced amount in cash for use of their cards,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, special agent-in-charge with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General.

The two are due to be sentenced Aug. 22.

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