3 people in Twin Cities charged with food stamp fraud


Three Twin Cities residents were charged Wednesday with running a fraud ring that involved using food stamp cards from homeless people to buy tens of thousands of dollars in goods that were shipped to Liberia and sold there, the Star Tribune reports.

Noni S. Snider, 39, of Eden Prairie, and Walter C. Cooper were each charged in Ramsey County District Court with wrongfully obtaining public assistance and felony conspiracy. Nyla J. Newburgh, 40, of Minneapolis, was charged with gross-misdemeanor conspiracy.

The three conducted an "extensive welfare fraud scheme" that lasted for several months in 2012, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune. “In order to sustain our community’s safety net, the integrity and public confidence of the food stamp program must be upheld."

The fraud is alleged to have involved the theft of thousands of dollars in benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

According to the criminal complaint, Ramsey County authorities received a tip in July from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about a number of individuals who were purchasing large amounts of non-perishable items including soda and Ramen noodles with EBT SNAP cards, and then shipping the items to Africa for sale there, KSTP reports.

EBT SNAP cards function like a credit or debit card. A recipient swipes the card wherever he or she purchases food and enters a four-digit PIN to complete the purchase.

To obtain the cards, Snider allegedly approached EBT cardholders at homeless shelters and offered them 50 cents on the dollar for their benefits, according to KSTP. Some of the cardholders also gave Snider their PIN numbers.

Investigators identified Cooper and Snider as suspects from surveillance footage from Wal-Mart in St. Paul and Sam's Club in St. Louis Park.

KSTP reports that Cooper, a former employee of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, formed Floxy Enterprises in 2008 as a mechanism to send goods to Liberia, according to investigators.

When investigators searched Snider, they found three EBT cards and seven EBT receipts in her possession, according to the Star Tribune.

The criminal complaint lists about 30 shopping trips the suspects took from June 2012 to October 2012, and the individual purchases ranged from $49 to more than $1,100. The total amount spent was more than $11,000, the Star Tribune reports.

The three are due back in court next month.

Next Up


Eagan-based Villaume Industries pays $90K fine in gender discrimination case

After the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found the company refused to hire women, Villaume committed to reforms


11 more people charged in massive magazine scam plead guilty

In total, 63 people from across the U.S. were charged in what prosecutors called the "largest elder fraud scheme in the nation."

Alex Stalock

Wild goalie Alex Stalock claimed off waivers by Oilers

The South St. Paul native will be heading to Edmonton.

Mortensen becker-finn

Shakopee GOPer posts DFL lawmaker's personal cell number on Facebook

Rep. Erik Mortensen has been accused of 'doxxing' Twin Cities lawmaker Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn.

derek chauvin

Minneapolis scraps plan to pay 'influencers' to share information during Chauvin trial

The plan to pay influencers to share city-approved messages during the trials of the officers charged in George Floyd's death drew criticism.


Toddler called 911 and said 'baby' was dead, turned out to be her doll

We're checking into whether the doll is named 'Chucky.'

Target Center

NCAA Women's Final Four 2022 will be held in Minneapolis

The NCAA unveiled the logo for the 2022 Final Four on Monday.


As golf season approaches, book your round now at Dacotah Ridge GC

The stunning course is designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones.


Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run in St. Paul Sunday evening

The incident occurred near the intersection of Phalen Boulevard and Atlantic Street.


Feds investigate possible food stamp fraud at St. Paul shelters

Authorities believe they have uncovered a scam in which a man bought food stamp cards at half their value from dozens of homeless-shelter residents in the St. Paul area and then redeemed them at two grocery stores, the Star Tribune reports.