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Meat stores owner, worker charged with food stamp fraud


The owner of several Baltimore-area Shop and Save Meats stores has been indicted on charges of food stamp fraud.

Cornell Crawford, 47, of Perry Hall and his employees exchanged cash for food stamp benefits totaling more than $1 million, according to an indictment unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Usually they made the exchange at a discount, offering about 70 cents on the dollar, according to prosecutors, who said the scheme operated between March 1992 and December 1993.

Also charged was Andrew Littlejohn, a former employee who prosecutors say participated with Mr. Crawford. Seven other employees have pleaded guilty in the case.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program, prohibits stores from exchanging anything for food stamps except qualifying products, prosecutors said.

If convicted of all seven felony counts of food stamp fraud and related crimes, Mr. Crawford could be sentenced to up to 115 years in prison and fined $3.5 million. He could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Several pieces of real estate and two motor vehicles that prosecutors believe were purchased with the proceeds could be subject to forfeiture.

The employees convicted of food stamp fraud are Charles Eades, Charles Richardson, K. B. Ferguson Sr., who received 21-month prison sentences, and Charles Pearson, Kevin Parker, Al Ferguson and K. B. Ferguson Jr., who are awaiting sentencing.

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