HOUSTON -- Four store owners in Harris County have been indicted for allegedly food stamp trafficking, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced Wednesday.

The owners of Danny's NL Seafood Market, Allen Nguyen and Loan Lai, along with the owners of C & M Grocers, Arvind and Roshni Patel are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government in an elaborate scheme.

Investigators say the store owner exchanges cash for the SNAP food stamp card, but for only a fraction of the value. So the store owner keeps the full value of the SNAP card while the customer walks out with money they can spend on non-food items, like alcohol.

"These criminals not only steal from taxpayers, but also from Texans who rely on food stamp benefits to survive," said Anderson. "We will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure those abusing the system are aggressively prosecuted and brought to justice."

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