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What you need to know for 08/19/2017

Schenectady men indicted in alleged food stamp trading scheme

Schenectady men indicted in alleged food stamp trading scheme

A father and son arrested over the summer accused of essentially trading cash for food stamp benefit

A father and son arrested over the summer accused of essentially trading cash for food stamp benefits at a State Street business have now been indicted.

The father and son face a total 14-count indictment, accused of perpetrating the alleged scheme at the father's business, Cheese Bakery and Grocery, 1007 State St.

Son Elvin Singh, 27, appeared in court this morning and pleaded not guilty to the counts against him.

Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago continued Singh's previous bail, but added a new restriction ordering Singh to remain in one of four local counties.

His father, Vishnunarine Singh, 57, of Ozone Park, was arraigned on Friday and pled not guilty.

As a result of the alleged scheme, more than two dozen others were also arrested on various charges related to accusations they misused their food stamps. Others were not charged criminally, but could face loss of their benefit privileges if found to have traded their benefits.

The father and son are accused of essentially trading cash for food stamp benefits, with little or no actual food included in the transactions. The recipient would then get typically about 50 percent of the face value of the benefits and the store would keep the other half, officials said.

Food stamp cards are similar to debit cards, and are intended to help low-income families in purchasing food. They carry restrictions on what can be purchased. Lottery tickets, tobacco products and alcohol are among the items that can't be purchased, officials have said.

Elvin Singh was represented in court by attorney Michael Horan. The case is being prosecuted by Deanndra Macomber.

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