Three California women are accused of running a $6 million food stamp fraud scheme where they illegally exchanged Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for cash, prosecutors said.
Authorities arrested Maria Teresa Ramirez, 37, Maria Magdalena Salgado, 54, and Yessica Raquel Garay, 37, and charged them in connection with the scheme with food stamp fraud, NBC Los Angeles reported.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Michael Fern said that Ramirez, Salgado, and Garay are all accused of trading SNAP benefits for cash and collecting money from the fraudulent SNAP transactions.
All three are accused of pocketing $500,000 through illegal means.
Food stamp fraud is very prevalent in the United States and has caused the federal government to lose billions of dollars.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from 2019 found that criminals were responsible for trafficking at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits.
Law enforcement officials have cracked down on food stamp fraud cases because of the many instances of food stamp fraud in the United States.
Last March, Florida law enforcement officials busted nearly 200 people on food stamp fraud charges while they carried out an undercover law enforcement investigation.