Federal agents arrest 2 in alleged $2M Santa Ana EBT scam

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Guns drawn, federal agents raided a mobile home in Santa Ana Wednesday. At the same time, another team moved on the Euclid Market on the 600 block of Euclid Street.

The agents from the USDA's Office of the Inspector General and the IRS are investigating a $2 million food stamp fraud scheme.

According to the search warrant, Johanna Garcia and her father Jose Garcia Olivo are accused of cheating the federal government of EBT funds since 2012.

As the scam played out. a customer with an EBT card would come into the market, the owners would allegedly give them cash, then charge the card for a greater amount.

"I think they were acting normal. They didn't care if they got caught or not," one resident said.

One resident who wanted to remain anonymous said that despite the handwritten sign that read "no EBT" in the store, the owners didn't try to hide what they were doing.

He said they're good people who may have thought they were helping the community. "I think it was both," the man said. "They were doing it for the business and for the community."

As agents combed through the store collecting evidence, a woman walked out and got in her car, but did not talk to reporters.

Garcia and Garcia Olivo are also accused of using customers' EBT cards at different stores, as well as failing to report any of the earnings on their taxes.

Some neighbors are happy to see the crackdown. "They have to put the tax money to something," said Jack Johnson of Santa Ana. "If they put it into a program and it's abused, we have to stop those people."
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