Darlington Grand Jury indicts 15 people on food stamp fraud charges

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the Darlington Grand Jury returned indictments on August 20, 2015 against fifteen (15) Darlington County residents. All are charged with one count of Fraudulent Acquisition or Use of Food Stamps:

Renita Brunson (DOB 1981), Hartville
Margie Carroway (DOB 1981), Hartsville
Tina Commander (DOB 1980), Hartsville
Marquitta Gripper (DOB 1980), Hartsville
Delia Johnson (DOB 1989), Hartsville
Dorothy Dawneisha Johnson (DOB 1995), Hartsville
Tomeka Murphy (DOB 1985), Hartsville
Janice Rivers (DOB 1969), Hartsville
Kishawn Sanders (DOB 1971), Hartsville
Porsche Slater (DOB 1981), Hartsville
Kayleigh Tyner (DOB 1987), Hartsville
Kristina Taylor (DOB 1977), Hartsville
Starseamia Wesley (DOB 1985), Hartsville
Raquel Wilson (DOB 1987), Darlington
Nicole Zimmerman (DOB 1982), Hartsville

Margie Carroway is charged with a felony and could face a $5,000 fine and ten (10) years in prison – the others are charged with a felony and face a $500 fine and five (5) years imprisonment.

The case will be prosecuted by the Assistant Attorney General Nicole T. Wetherton. The cases were investigated by Special Agent Condie Johnson from the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS).

Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

The details on the charges according to the South Carolina Code of Laws (Source: www.scstatehouse.gov):

Section16-13-430. Fraudulent acquisition or use of food stamps.

(A) It is unlawful for a person to:
(1) obtain, attempt to obtain, aid, abet, or assist any person to obtain, by means of a false statement or representation, false impersonation, fictitious transfer, conveyance, or other fraudulent device, food stamps or coupons to which an applicant is not entitled or a greater amount of food stamps or coupons than that which an applicant is justly entitled;

or

(2) to acquire, possess, use, or transfer food stamps or coupons except as authorized by law and the rules and regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture relating to these matters.

(B) It is unlawful for a person to acquire or transfer food stamps or coupons except in exchange for food or food products for human consumption, which do not include alcoholic beverages, tobacco, beer, or wine.

(C) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a:
(1) felony if the amount of food stamps fraudulently acquired or used is of a value of ten thousand dollars or more. Upon conviction, the person must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;
(2) felony if the amount of food stamps fraudulently acquired or used is of a value of more than two thousand dollars but less than ten thousand dollars. Upon conviction, the person must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both;
(3) misdemeanor triable in magistrates court or municipal court, notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 22-3-540, 22-3-545, 22-3-550, and 14-25-65, if the amount of food stamps fraudulently acquired or used is of a value of two thousand dollars or less. Upon conviction, the person must be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

(D) A mercantile establishment which allows purchases of prohibited items in exchange for food stamps or coupons or currency of the United States must be disqualified from participation in the food stamp program for a period not to exceed two years and fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.
HISTORY: 1976 Act No. 548; 1993 Act No. 184, Section 119; 2010 Act No. 273, Section 16.T, eff June 2, 2010.

Author: Duane Childers

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