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South L.A. grocer accused of defrauding food stamp program

August 23, 2011 |  3:05 pm

A South Los Angeles grocery store owner has been charged with buying electronic food stamp cards from recipients and using them to resell items at higher prices.

Sabino Reynoso Cedano, 59, who operates two stores on South Normandie Avenue, is facing four felony counts of food and nutrition benefits fraud, computer access fraud, access card benefits theft and multiple access card theft.

The alleged scheme occurred over the last year.

Los Angeles County district attorney's investigators served search warrants Aug. 3 on Cedano's two stores and his Inglewood home before arresting him.

Cedano purchased Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and PIN numbers over the last year for less than they were worth, said Deputy Dist. Atty. William D. Clark.

He then used the cards to buy items such as soda, chips and candy, which he resold at his stores for much higher prices, Clark said.

The EBT cards are issued to those receiving aid through the Department of Social Services, and they are meant to be used by the recipient only to buy food.

If convicted as charged, Cedano faces a possible maximum state prison term of five years, according to prosecutors.

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-- Richard Winton
Twitter.com/lacrimes

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