GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A long list of fraud and theft charges were filed this week involving a Brown County investigation into a Food Share fraud scheme.
The husband and wife owners of the Bay Beach Liquor store in Green Bay are facing 40 felony and misdemeanor counts, including food stamp fraud and credit card theft.
57-year-old Gurnek Basanti and his wife, 52-year-old Gurdeep Basanti were charged Wednesday.
The criminal complainant says the couple allowed Food Share participants to use their electronic Quest cards to illegally buy liquor and cigarettes.
They would charge double for the merchandise and keep the difference.
The Basanti’s also allowed cash advances in exchange to use their cards at twice the value.
Brown County District Attorney David Lasee says “they were just taking cards as a form of payment for debts and handing out cash and then using those cards themselves at various grocery stores.”
The practice in common in other parts of the country.
“This is a scheme that has been utilized in the past, but it’s not something we’ve seen before in Brown County or at least prosecuted”Lasee said.
Far less charges could also come for those who bought alcohol and cigarettes.
“It’s more important that we address the larger scheme and we go directly to store owners for that, if there aren’t store owners that make this option available to people, we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.” Lasee said.