Birmingham store manager convicted of embezzling $4.6m from SNAP funds

A Birmingham man was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Tuesday for illegally buying back $4.6 million in Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

US District Judge Karon Bowdre sentenced Omar Motley, 42, to 46 months in prison, followed by three years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $847,001 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and $4.75 million to the US Department of Agriculture.

Motley was the manager of the Big B Food Mart, on North 24th Street in Birmingham. Prosecutors said Motley redeemed the SNAP EBT benefits for cash and ineligible items, from November 2014 to March 2017, for a total of $4.6 million. He also did not report the income to the IRS, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, according to authorities, the SNAP benefits redeemed at the store were 52 times greater than at similarly sized stores in the region.

Salina Walker, acting special agent in charge of the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, said the case should “send a strong message of zero tolerance” to those who defraud the SNAP program.

“This should also serve as a warning to all stores participating in the SNAP program as sellers that fraud and trafficking (purchasing these benefits for cash) will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.” , Walker said.

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