2 Texas Women Steal 70 Tons Of Cheese, Beans In $1.2M Food Stamp Scheme

By Dani Medina

March 10, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

Two Texas woman have been charged in connection to a $1.2 million food stamp scheme.

According to ValleyCentral, Ana Rioja, 51, of Brownsville, and Maria Cunsuelo de Ureno, 55, of Brownsville, and other co-conspirators, have been exchanging SNAP benefits for cash.

A release from the office of U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery said the benefits were used at Sam's Wholesale Club, where they completed 715 fraudulent transactions linked to the SNAP benefits from 83 different people.

The $1.2 million in fraudulent transactions took place between September 2014 and August 2019. Ureno's purchases totaled to:

  • 49.1 tons of American cheese slices
  • 22.3 tons of pinto beans
  • 1.6 tons of Folgers coffee
  • 1.4 tons of instant mashed potatoes
  • 5,000 gallons of mayonnaise

Ureno would fraudulently purchase these items, and then sell them to a partner and transport them to Mexico.

Rioja is facing 30 months in prison followed by a year of supervised release. Ureno is facing 37 months followed by three years of supervised release. Ureno could also "face loss of her legal status in the United States and removal proceedings following her release from prison."

Rioja and Ureno have been ordered by U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera Jr. to pay $975,401 and $1,284,282.15 in restitution, respectively.

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