Prakash Patel Charged On EBT Fraud

By  //  September 4, 2013


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SUSPECTED OF taking $367,000 in EBT funds

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ABOVE MAP: Mike’s Shop ‘N Save is located at 940 Peachtree Street. The owner, Prakash Manubhai Patel, was  charged with Social Welfare Fraud, Money Laundering, Racketeering, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card and engaging in the sale of synthetic marijuana.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA • COCOA – Prakash Manubhai Patel,  38, was arrested on multiple charges this morning after an 18-month investigation involving the Special Investigations Unit of the Cocoa Police Department, FDLE and federal agencies.

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The investigation was a collaborative effort that with the Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Financial Services Unit.

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Prakash Manubhai Patel, 38, was arrested on multiple charges this morning after an 18-month investigation involving the Special Investigations Unit of the Cocoa Police Department, FDLE and federal agencies. (Cocoa PD image)

According to police, Patel owns Mike’s Shop ‘N Save located at Fiske Boulevard and Peachtree Street in Cocoa, and is charged with Social Welfare Fraud, Money Laundering, Racketeering, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card and engaging in the sale of synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic cannabis is a psychoactive designer drug derived from natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that, when consumed, allegedly mimic the effects of cannabis.

According to police, Patel’s M.O. was to give cash back on purchases, which is prohibited by law in an EBT card transaction. For example, if a patron wanted $50 cash back, Patel would charge their EBT card for $100 worth of goods, and then give the customer $50 and pocketing $50.

Patel is suspected of taking more than $350,000 in EBT funds during a two year period by allowing customers to use their EBT cards to buy K-2 (synthetic marijuana), beer, cigarettes and lotto tickets.

ONGOING INVESTIVATION

Authorities told investigators with Cocoa that a store this size would average about $1,500.00 in EBT transactions each month.  However, Patel’s store has monthly totals ranging from $6,000.00 to $12,000.00 per month.

According to police, Patel’s M.O. was to give cash back on purchases, which is prohibited by law in an EBT card transaction. For example, if a patron wanted $50 cash back, Patel would charge their EBT card for $100 worth of goods, and then give the customer $50 and pocketing $50.

This is an ongoing investigation as Cocoa Police say they suspect other local store owners are doing the same thing.

STAY TUNED TO SPACECOASTDAILY.COM FOR UPDATE


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