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2 plead guilty in Guam food stamp fraud

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HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — A local restaurant owner and a recipient of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program each face up to five years in federal prison after the pair admitted to their part in an illegal food stamp scheme.

Marites M. Barrogo, 46, and Stephanie C. Muna, 35, each pleaded guilty Tuesday in the District Court of Guam before Magistrate Judge Michael Bordallo to conspiracy to use, transfer, acquire, alter or possess SNAP benefits without authorization.

"Guilty," said Barrogo.

"Guilty," said Muna.

The two women will remain out of prison while they await sentencing.

According to their plea agreements, both face a maximum of five years in prison and three years' supervised release, and must pay restitution in an amount that will be determined at sentencing.

 

 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program application office in Tamuning is shown on June 2, 2020. Photo by Kevin Milan/The Guam Daily Post

Barrogo is the owner and operator of Laguna Best Restaurant & Catering in Harmon.

The restaurant never participated in SNAP, court documents state.

Muna was a SNAP benefit recipient.

Food stamp scheme

Barrogo admitted that between June 2015 and June 2018, she began purchasing SNAP benefits from recipients, including Muna.

Barrogo would buy it monthly and would take Muna's EBT card and PIN to buy food from various local retailers, court documents state.

She admitted to buying more than $15,000 worth of food items during the conspiracy.

Under the direction of Barrogo, Muna recruited at least four other SNAP recipients to participate in the scheme and paid them cash in exchange. Barrogo also told other SNAP participants to buy food items with their benefits, which she would then buy at a discounted price, documents state.

The guilty plea means neither will be eligible for the food stamp program.

Both are scheduled back in court later this year to find out when sentencing will take place.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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