December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Mother sentenced to probation in food stamp fraud scheme

Erica Perez

Erica Perez

ELYRIA — Erica Perez was sentenced Wednesday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court to two years of probation for her involvement in a food stamp fraud scheme that was broken up by state and local authorities last year.

Perez, 30, is already on probation from Lorain Municipal Court after pleading no contest to child endangering and resisting arrest charges last year for a July 2012 incident in which police found seven of her children living in a filthy home with little food.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety Investigative Unit had been investigating Perez in the food stamp fraud case before her arrest in the child endangering case.

The fraud investigation centered on Adames Deli and Grocery on East 31st Street in Lorain, where investigators contend that a confidential informant was able to purchase newspapers, lighters and cigarettes from the store using food stamps. Those items and others paid for by food stamps aren’t allowed uses of the food stamps.

Investigators contend that the operator of the business, Rafael Coll, stole about $582,000 over the three years he defrauded the food stamp system. Coll is still awaiting trial.

Perez was one of several people charged with improperly using their food stamps at the store.