Woman ordered to pay back over $14,000 for food stamp fraud.

October 24, 2017

Elida Rocha with her attorney, Terry Shaw.

Woman ordered to pay back over $14,000 for food stamp fraud.

#OceanaCountyCourtNews

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — A 38-year-old Hart woman was ordered to pay back $14,235.13 in restitution during her sentencing Monday, Oct. 23, in 27th Circuit Court for a felony conviction of food stamp fraud.

Elida V. Rocha, of 6827 N. 126th Ave. pleaded guilty last August to food stamp fraud over $1,000.

Rocha must pay back all of the money she owes during her five-year probationary term. If she pays it all back before her probation ends, she can then withdraw her plea to the felony and plead to a misdemeanor, Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said previously.

“You have to successfully complete the probation, and you have to pay the money back,” Judge Robert D. Springstead said previously. Rocha must make monthly payments of $237.25.

“She is a US citizen, and it’s her first felony,” said her attorney Terry Shaw.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 0-9 months.

Springstead ordered that she serve seven days up front, with credit for seven days served, of a nine-month discretionary jail term.

“I would purchase some non-item foods,” Rocha previously told the judge.

The fraud occurred at the Shelby store, La Fortuna Carniceria. The store allowed her to use her bridge card, which is specifically to be used for food items only, to pay for the non-food items as well.

Store owner Cruz Gonzalez of Shelby and her two daughters, Fabiola Garcia and Gisela Mendoza, were sentenced to prison in federal court and ordered to pay $722,149 in restitution for the food stamp scheme at La Fortuna Carniceria.

Food stamp fraud over $1,000 is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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