GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Two sisters who own a restaurant in High Point pleaded guilty to fraudulently using food stamps to buy groceries for their business.
The U.S. Department of Justice says Rebecca Ingram and Mary Frances Ingram pleaded guilty in federal court in Winston-Salem on Wednesday. The pair own and operate Becky's & Mary's Restaurant on E. Washington Drive in High Point.
The sisters face a prison sentence of up to five years, and a fine of up to $250,000. Their sentencing is set for August 22, 2017. The court may also order the women to pay back the victims.
"The prosecution of these sisters should serve as a strong message that fraud in USDA programs will not be tolerated,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent-in-Charge for USDA-OIG.
According to a release, the Ingrams used SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards belonging to other people at local grocery stores to buy food for their restaurant. Investigators say the sisters paid the card owners a reduced amount of cash in exchange for use of the card.
Investigators say the Ingrams used more than 180 EBT cards between January 2015 and October 2016. Federal officers searched the restaurant last November and found 21 EBT cards and a notebook full of names, card numbers, and PIN numbers - none of the cards belonged to the Ingrams.
The High Point Police Department and the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General investigated the case.