Bay Area EBT Card Racket Toppled


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Authorities say a convenience store operator is responsible for a fraud ring involving six Tampa Bay area stores and more than a million dollars in losses.

The Tampa Tribune reports that Wail Mari, owner of King Food Mart, was charged Tuesday with public assistance fraud, scheme to defraud and trafficking in credit cards.

St. Petersburg police say Mari bought EBT cards for 50 cents on the dollar and used them at stores to buy items for his store and others in the area.

After using the cards, Mari would take them to a gas station to clear the remaining balance in exchange for cash.

Police say the arrest is the result of a 15-month investigation.

EBT cards are given to low-income families to buy essentials like food.