There are two NY criminal defense attorneys who have a lot of work cut out for them after a Manhattan Grand Jury indicted their clients on four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, two counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, and three counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, two individuals, Edward and Eugenia Fiammetta, used their public assistance benefit cards to fraudulently obtain $54,725 in food stamp credits from 17 Manhattan grocery stores.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office alleges that the Fiammettas used Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to access the government benefits in their accounts. Specifically, the two schemed the government by contacting grocery stores and telling unsuspecting clerks that the machine used to swipe the cards at the particular location was broken. Telling the clerk they were EBT employees, the Fiammettas gave the clerk their own EBT account number to plug into the system to fix the alleged problem. As a result, the clerks’ actions would unwittingly transfer food stamp credits into the Fiammetta’s Chase account. After the stamp credits were deposited in the Fiammetta’s account, the Fiammetta’s transferred the credits to other grocery stores in exchange for cash.
While the Fiammettas allegedly concocted a scheme where they never actually got their hands dirty (they appear to have done this all by phone or transfers), law enforcement tracked them down. The Fiammettas learned the hard way that in tough financial times law enforcement cannot and will not let these types of crimes slide by. If the allegations are true, the Fiammettas will need an experienced criminal defense attorney as they now face up to seven years in state prison on the top charge.