An alleged illegal food stamp scheme has led to federal charges being brought against the owner of Laguna Best Restaurant and Catering in Harmon and another woman, who once received the assistance benefit.
Marites M. Barrago, the restaurant owner, and Stephanie C. Muna, who was a recipient of the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to use, transfer, acquire, alter or posses SNAP benefits without authorization; and three counts of unauthorized use, transfer, acquisition, alteration, or possession of SNAP benefits.
According to court documents, Muna gave her SNAP EBT card and PIN to Marites in exchange for cash on a monthly basis, at a discount. The alleged exchange occurred between June 2015 and June 2018.
Muna knew that Barrago allegedly used her SNAP EBT card and PIN to buy food for Barrogo’s restaurant, documents state.
In court documents, Muna is also accused of soliciting and obtaining SNAP cards and PINs from other SNAP recipients in order to exchange them with Barrago for cash.
A notice of forfeiture was also issued for the pair.