I-Team Exclusive: Area businesses searched on allegations of food stamp trafficking

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CLEVELAND – Only the Fox 8 I-Team cameras were on scene as investigators carried out a series of search warrants designed to protect your tax dollars.

Agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit searched four area businesses, two Dollar Lots and Pizza Kings and Ribs, on allegations of food stamp trafficking and two others for allegations of receiving stolen property.

Croft says food stamp trafficking is a serious issue.

"This is everybody’s money,” Croft said.  “This is federal and state money that comes from tax dollars.  It is created to help people get food. It is not designed to get rich or fraud the system.”

Employees at the businesses said they did not want to talk about the allegations.

While at the Dollar Lots store on Denison, Croft said they had received a tip from a source that there was trafficking in food stamps going on at that location.

“When I say trafficking in food stamps, that is anywhere from allowing the purchase of ineligible items, but also buying food stamps for pennies on the dollar and redeeming the amount in full to the government,” Croft said.

Croft said once the investigation is completed, it will be turned over to the county prosecutor’s office.  The prosecutor’s office will then determine if the case should be presented to the grand jury for possible charges.

During the search warrants, OIU was assisted by Cleveland and Seven Hills police departments.

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