10 arrests in alleged food stamp fraud at Salem produce store - KPTV - FOX 12

10 arrests in alleged food stamp fraud at Salem produce store

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Holver Paniagua-Millan Holver Paniagua-Millan

A Salem produce business is accused of being at the center of a food stamp fraud scheme that generated $10,000 a month.

Ten people have been arrested this month in connection with an investigation into Paniaguas Produce at 1805 Silverton Road NE.

Salem detectives, assisted by agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, conducted surveillance at the business March 7. During that time, five people were arrested and charged with fraudulently using Electronic Benefits Transfer cards to obtain cash.

Following the arrests, a search warrant was served at the business. Holver Paniagua-Millan was then taken into custody.

Investigators said he owns the produce stand with his wife. Detectives said the scheme involved people with EBT cards making a purchase, $200 for example, except there was nothing actually bought.

The EBT cardholder would take $100 in cash while the other $100 would be cashed out and given to  Paniagua-Millan. He would then be reimbursed the total amount of $200 by the government.

Detectives believe he could have been bringing in $10,000 in illegally obtained money per month for more than a year.

He is charged with racketeering, computer fraud, food stamp fraud and identity theft.

The business has remained open, but police took away the EBT card reader. Investigators said his wife runs the store, but she was not arrested because police don't believe she was involved in the scheme.

In addition to Paniagua-Millan, nine others have been arrested on charges of food stamp fraud and, in some cases, additional charges.

They are: Meleda Cook, 54, of Keizer; Heidi Timberman, 40, of Salem; Joseph Sieg, 49, of Salem; Mary Vaughn, 55, of Salem; Bob Ullom, 51, of Salem; Craig Clendennen, 47, of Salem; Amber Roseander, 19, of Salem; Ronnie Crawley, 32, of Salem; and Melanie Farmer, 39, of Keizer.

The investigation is continuing and anyone with information about this case is asked to call detectives at 503-540-2358.

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