Posted on August 29, 2012 at 9:54 AM
MCALLEN, Texas -- A South Texas grocer has been sentenced to two years in prison for fraud in a program to help needy mothers and children.
A federal judge in McAllen on Tuesday sentenced 46-year-old Fernando Ramirez Estrada of Mission.
Estrada owned Mary’s Mart in Mission, which has closed amid the investigation. Estrada in April pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud of a federally funded program.
Investigators say Estrada paid participants in the Women, Infants and Children Program cash for their benefits. He would then redeem the benefits for a higher value by filing fraudulent purchase claims.
Prosecutors say Estrada must also repay $106,000 to the government over the scheme going back to October 2004.