Lexington store owner accused of food stamp fraud

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LEXINGTON Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington "variety store" owner has been accused of using his shop as a front criminal activity, namely, buying food stamps and swapping them illegally for money and drugs.

Four men are scheduled for arraignment Thursday afternoon, in Fayette District Court on a number of charges, from engaging in organized crime to welfare fraud. Lexington police say they executed four search warrants Wednesday, including at the Barter House on Loudon Avenue.

The owner, Charles Morton, was allegedly trading EBT cards, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, for other products. Police say Morton was paying $0.50 on the dollar for the cards, before his associates or employees would use them at various stores around town.

Investigators say numerous complaints about the EBT Fraud is what eventually lead them to the Barter House, as well as two other Lexington Businesses, the EZ Stop on Georgetown Road and the Marathon Station off Centre Parkway.

Police say during their investigation, in addition to the fraudulent EBT cards, they seized prescription pills, synthetic marijuana, and cash. A spokesman for the department says they are still investigating.

Lexington police say four others were charged in connection to the case, but not arrested.

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