ELYRIA — Kitty Meszes has been indicted in connection with an investigation into food stamp fraud at Cakes, Candy and Flowers, the Elyria business she runs.
Meszes, 52, is charged with trafficking in drugs, theft and two counts of conspiracy, the same charges her company already was facing when the indictment against her was unsealed Tuesday.
Meszes, the daughter of former Lorain County Commissioner Mary Jo Vasi, was booked into and released Tuesday from the Lorain County Jail. A worker who answered the phone at Cakes, Candy and Flowers said it was unlikely Meszes would comment on the allegations against her.
She has previously denied being involved with food stamp fraud.
Also facing charges in connection with the investigation are Thaer Mustafa and the now-shuttered Shopway Food Mart. A second business run by Mustafa, IMT Wireless and More, is accused of involvement with drugs, gambling and counterfeit clothing.
According to court documents filed by city attorneys last year as part of their successful effort to close down Shopway as a nuisance, Meszes was personally involved in food stamp fraud.
An informant who went to Shopway as part of an investigation by Elyria police and the Ohio Department of Public Safety last year was sent to Cake, Candy and Flowers after inquiring about using a food stamp card to buy drugs and a cell phone.
The informant went to Cakes, Candy and Flowers and Meszes allegedly ran his or her food stamp card, also known as an EBT card, and gave the informant a receipt, according to court documents. The informant then returned to Shopway and was given a cell phone and told to return the next day to pick up the synthetic marijuana he or she wanted to buy.
When the informant went back to Cakes, Candy and Flowers to get more money off his or her EBT card to spend at Shopway, an employee working at Meszes’ store refused to run the card, according to court documents.
But Meszes came out of the back room and ran the card and provided a receipt, which the informant took back to Shopway, according to the court filings.
Mustafa and another Shopway employee were arrested during an April 2013 raid that also included a search of Cakes, Candy and Flowers, but no one from Meszes’ company had been formally charged until now.