Phillip Ferguson Haynes, Jr. (Jail photo)
WACO (June 28, 2012)--A Waco businessman pleaded guilty Thursday to wire fraud in connection with a widespread food stamp fraud case.
Phillip Ferguson Haynes, Jr., owner of Swift P's JKP Pizza located at 1330 East Waco Drive, was set for sentencing on Aug. 22 in U.S. District Court.
Court documents show Swift P's is a convenience store, which participates in the United States Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was formerly known as the USDA Food Stamp Program.
The SNAP program is the nation's principal food assistance program, which enables low-income households to purchase food.
Prosecutors say beginning at least as early as October 2009, and continuing through June 29, 2011, Haynes orchestrated a scheme to defraud the USDA, selling ineligible items, including gasoline, tobacco products, and alcohol to SNAP beneficiaries.
In addition, documents show, Haynes purchased SNAP benefits with cash for half their face value and created false sales records to cover up the fraudulent activity.
Investigators say from November 1, 2009, through June 28,2011, Swift P's redeemed a total of $1,474,428 in SNAP benefits while reporting only $218,178 in total sales to the Texas Comptroller’s Office.
The investigation showed customers could come into the store and use their SNAP cards in exchange for half the cash value in order to play video poker.
Haynes is accused of swiping a Texas Lone Star Card, deducting $400 from the card account and giving $200 cash to the cardholder for use in video poker machines.