An Anson County-based restaurant and employee have agreed to pay $62,000 to settle claims that workers used benefits cards for food stamp recipients to buy items for the business.
A federal complaint was filed last October against Ladybug Family Restaurant and four of its workers, including Retha Kendall Lindsey.
Authorities accused the employees of fraudulently using benefits cards for recipients in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to buy bulk packages of meat and other items. The cards were used at least 49 times between August 2011 and June 2012, authorities said.
According to a federal complaint, Ladybug operated businesses in Wadesboro and Laurinburg.
The settlement by the restaurant and Lindsey was announced Thursday by Anne Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. It still must be approved by a federal judge.
Under the deal, the defendants would pay $21,116.01 in damages and $40,883.99 in civil penalties under the federal False Claims Act.
“The SNAP program is in place to ensure that low income families and individuals are able to buy food staples to combat hunger and prevent malnutrition,” Tompkins said in a news release. “Fraud on this program harms not only every American taxpayer but the vulnerable recipients who need it the most. My office will continue to use the False Claims Act to vigorously investigate and prosecute allegations of fraud on important government programs such as SNAP.” Researcher Maria David contributed.
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