Tacoma store owner sentenced in food stamp fraud

A Tacoma convenience store owner who pleaded guilty to food-stamp fraud has been sentenced to 30 days’ incarceration and a $120,000 fine, the state Department of Social and Health Services reported Wednesday.

Sandra Flores was convicted in U.S. District Court and sentenced Jan. 31, according to the agency.

DSHS investigators identified possible fraudulent activity at Flores’ store, La Popular Cash and Carry, in May 2012. Later surveillance showed she allowed welfare recipients to exchange food-stamp benefits on Electronic Benefits Cards for cash, which is against the law, and charged them a percentage for the service, court records show.

An undercover police officer twice exchanged food-stamp benefits for cash in her store during the investigation, the new release states.