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Attorney General Nessel Charges Additional Defendants in Interstate Food Stamp Fraud Scheme
August 18, 2023
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced three additional defendants have been charged and arraigned in connection to the multi-million-dollar interstate food stamp fraud investigation conducted by her Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Unit operating with Michigan State Police and the Attorney General’s ‘FORCE’ Team.
The three additional defendants are:
Charles Williams, 35, of Detroit, arraigned last week in the 46th District Court on one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, and five counts of Food Stamp Fraud.
Darian Palmer, 22, of Detroit, arraigned last week in the 52-3 District Court on one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, and five counts of Food Stamp Fraud.
Rashawn Stewart, 24, of Detroit, arraigned this week in the 43rd District court on one count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20-year felony, and five counts of Food Stamp Fraud.
On Wednesday May 24th, search warrants were executed on eight locations throughout metro Detroit, leading to the arrest and arraignment of three individuals on felony charges for their connection to a substantial interstate food stamp fraud enterprise alleged to be responsible for thefts totaling over $4 million.
The purported food stamp fraud ring is alleged to have illegally obtained electronic benefit (EBT) card data from 8,000 cardholders mostly residing outside the state of Michigan and primarily in the state of California. The operation allegedly illegally reproduced EBT cards here in Michigan with this data, then used the cards for fraudulent purchases from metro Detroit Sam’s Club stores.
“Highly orchestrated organized retail crime costs Michigan businesses and consumers millions of dollars each year,” said Nessel. “I am proud of the continued efforts of my department’s ORC Unit and the ‘FORCE’ Team and the various law enforcement agencies to make sure all the perpetrators in this case are brought to justice.”
The investigation began as a joint endeavor between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Sam’s Club Global Security division, before being handed off to the Attorney General’s ‘FORCE’ Team and Walmart corporate security officials.
Michigan’s ORC Unit and ‘FORCE’ Team are currently working with seven other retailers on multiple open investigations, each centered around millions of dollars of retail fraud and theft. The ORC Unit and ‘FORCE’ Team are dedicated to working collaboratively with retailers and local law enforcement agencies to combat this organized crime. Local law enforcement agencies or retailers with evidence of organized retail fraud are encouraged to email the ‘FORCE’ Team.
Please note: For all criminal proceedings, a criminal charge is merely an allegation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Department does not provide booking photos.