Former Albany store owner jailed for food stamp fraud
ALBANY A former Albany convenience store owner was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail for his part in a food stamp scam.
Laterio Santos, 44, the former owner of Frank and Giovanni’s at 80 Morton Ave., was one of four store owners in Albany who participated in food stamp trafficking out of their bodegas.
Last year, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office used undercover buyers and video surveillance to unravel the fraud. Food stamp card holders entered these markets and left several minutes later with no bags or groceries, although their cards were used to make up to $399 in food stamp purchases while they were inside, according to a news release from Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares.
Instead, these food stamp card recipients would allow store operators to illegally convert their electronic food stamp benefits into cash. Store owners would typically keep half of the cash, according to Soares. More than $108,000 was seized during the initial raid.
Santos had pleaded guilty Nov. 5 to one count of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. Albany County Supreme Court Judge Dan Lemont sentenced him to six months in the Albany County Jail followed by five years of probation.
The other three owners have been convicted and sentenced already.