Somerset Store Owner Charged With Food Stamp Benefit Fraud

Kelly Evans

Kelly Evans.
Photo: Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office

The owner of Our Neighborhood Store on Hamilton Street was arrested Nov. 8 on charges that he defrauded the federal Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program.

Kelly Evans, 43, of South Brunswick, was charged with 3rd Degree Theft by Deception and 4th Degree Tampering with records, according to a release from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the release, Evans’ alleged crime involved the EBT debit cards that SNAP participants use to buy food. Authorities allege that Evans would debit the cards “for a percentage of cash value rather than actual food items,” and would then “keep the remaining cash value of the EBT cards as a profit which would then be transferred from the State of New Jersey to his company bank account,” according to the release.

“Defendant Evans also observed to allow non-food items to be purchased in his store with the EBT cards in violation of the vendor agreement to accept SNAP benefit payment,” according to the release.

Information obtained from the store’s bank account, police said, “indicated that the owners had received large unexplained wire transfers from a bank account maintained by the State of New Jersey.”

The investigation was led by detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit. Aiding in teh investigation were Franklin Township and South Brunswick police and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, according to the release.

After his arrest, Evans was remanded to the Somerset County Jail, Somerville, on $20,000 bail with a 10 percent option. He posted bail on Nov. 8

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