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Three arrested, accused of welfare fraud

Lexington Police arrested brothers Mohammad and Thaer Ryyal after they say the two were paying people cash for access to their EBT cards. They say Mohammad Ryyal works at a Lexington gas station and, without the knowledge of the station owners, rang up fake transactions on people's EBT cards for the full value of the card, then give the rightful owner half the value in cash while they got reimbursed for the full value of the card by the government.

"They were doubling their money," said Lt. Scott Blakely, of the Lexington Division of Police.

Police say Mohammad sent the money to his brother Thaer to stock his gas station in Richmond. Police say welfare fraud affects everyone.

"The State of Kentucky's a victim, the United States government is a victim, and I believe the individuals are victims. Although they entered into the agreement with them and sold them the cards, if people wasn't willing to do it, they wouldn't be able to do that," said Blakely.

While police say the cardholders are victims, ones who cashed them in could face penalties.

"They're going to be facing a criminal charge for selling their card. In addition, they will lose their benefits," said Blakely.

Police arrested Cossondra Freeman today. They say she was running a similar scam at her store on Ohio Street.

Police say they're still trying to find people who may have cashed in their cards at these stores.


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