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7 indicted for massive $8.5 million food stamp fraud scheme in Massillon

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-01 18:24:34-04

Seven people have been indicted in connection with a large-scale food stamp scheme in which they allegedly defrauded millions from the SNAP program.

Authorities said the seven people had a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Some face other charges of wire fraud and more.

The indictment handed down in U.S. District Court names Kaitlin Koher, owner of Ohio Direct Distributors, which used to be housed on Lincoln Way in Massillon.

RELATED: Massive food stamp fraud investigation in Massillon totaling millions of dollars

Authorities said she and six of her employees illegally used the SNAP program and that they "targeted large families in hopes of maximizing potential sales." Authorities also said the accused exchanged SNAP EBT benefits for cash and prepaid gift cards using "overt and covert intimidation tactics with SNAP recipients" to keep their illegal operations going.

The indictment states the overall transactions made by Ohio Direct Distributors totaled more than $9 million, and of that, nearly $8.5 million dollars was fraudulent.

It also states the illegal activities included post-dated transactions and unlawfully acquiring, possessing and using snap EBT access devices.

Authorities said taxpayers were ripped off from 2011 to 2017.

The indictment lays out 10 different times when undercover agents said they posed as SNAP recipients and made transactions anywhere from $125 to $400.

Others named in the indictment are Aaron Luke, Andrew Hess, William Lambert, Joseph Hendricks, Kyle Nicholson and James Leeson.

We contacted Koher's attorney, who said he's not sure any law was broken and that he's still researching the case.

Based on our research, this is one of the largest cases Ohio has seen when it comes to possible food stamp fraud.

Those accused will be arraigned in about 10 days.

You can read the indictment below:

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