Police: Man bought food items with fraudulently-obtained EBT cards, sold them at wife’s restaurant

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - A Massachusetts man is facing criminal charges after state police say he purchased tens of thousands of dollars in food supplies with fraudulently-obtained Electronic Benefits Transfer cards and then used the products in the preparation of meals that were served at a restaurant owned by his wife.

Jose A. Baez, 55, of Holyoke, was arrested Wednesday morning following a nearly yearlong investigation into a large-scale fraud scheme, according to Massachusetts State Police.

Surveillance set up by state police units in Holyoke and Springfield allegedly found that Baez was using multiple EBT cards to purchase large quantities of food products on an almost daily basis at 90 Meat Outlet and Sweet Life Foods Company on Avocado Street in Springfield.

Police say the investigation determined that after purchasing the food, Baez would take it to a restaurant owned by his wife, El Rincon Boricua Restaurant in Holyoke, where it was allegedly used to prepare meals that were served to customers.

Baez was taken into custody at the restaurant and booked at the state police barracks in Springfield.

He is expected to be arraigned in Springfield District Court on charges including electronic fund transfer violation, public assistance fraud, committing a government purchasing violation, money laundering, and larceny over $1,200 by single scheme.

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