Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Atlanta Store Owner Pleads Guilty to Trafficking in Food Stamps
ATLANTA – Samuel Kwushue has pleaded guilty to eight counts of wire fraud for illegally exchanging food stamp benefits for cash in his convenience store. Between late 2010 to approximately June 2015, Kwushe exchanged food stamp benefits for pennies on the dollar.
“The federal food stamp program is intended to help low-income citizens obtain needed nutritional assistance for themselves and their families,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “Instead, Kwushue abused the program by exchanging food stamp benefits for cash so he could enrich himself.”
“The federally funded food stamp program was designed with the best of intentions for those individuals truly in need. Kwushue was not one of those truly in need. This guilty plea in federal court will now firmly hold him accountable for his greed driven criminal acts of preying on those in need and stealing from a government program,” said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
According to U. S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: from August 2011 until at least June 2015, Kwushue owned and operated KD Metro Tropical Market, a convenience store in Atlanta, Georgia, where he unlawfully exchanged his customers’ food stamp benefits for cash at the rate of approximately 60 cents on the dollar. Stores that participate in the food stamp program are prohibited by law from exchanging cash for food stamp benefits or accepting food stamp benefits for the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, and non-food items.
During the investigation, law enforcement obtained data showing that KD Metro Tropical Market, a small convenience store, gradually raised its food stamp benefits transactions each month from approximately $1,100 in October 2010, to approximately $200,000 in June 2015. During undercover transactions where Kwushue paid agents cash in exchange for food stamp benefits, agents saw a collection of foodstuffs that could not justify the substantial sums Kwushue charged to the food stamp program each month. The scheme allegedly netted Kwushue approximately $2 million. He also allegedly handed out nearly $3 million in cash to customers.
Sentencing for Samuel Kwushue, 54, of Union City, Georgia, has not yet been scheduled.
This case is being investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Samir Kaushal is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov icon or (404) 581-6016.