4th brother charged in massive food stamp fraud

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 16:23:10-05

A fourth brother has been arrested on charges involving a massive food stamp scheme that allegedly went on for more than a year.

Taras Salamaca, 51, of Holley is charged with misuse of food stamps, third degree grand larceny, first degree scheme to defraud and criminal sale of untaxed cigarettes. Taras was charged after authorities conducted more than 130 interviews.

Authorities say the Salamaca brothers paid customers 70 percent value of their food stamps in cash, enabling them to pocket the full value of the food stamps and the customers to use the cash to buy things not permissible with food stamps, like cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets and gasoline.

The investigation into their activity at the Murray Superette in Holley lasted more than a year. Police raided the store last October as well as the Salamaca Estate Winery and the residences of the brothers.

Police say they seized 64 cartons of untaxed cigarettes, more than $22,000 in cash, a loaded handgun and several rifles and shotguns, financial records, several state Benefit cards and PIN numbers, several computers and an EBT terminal.

Alexander, Myron and Olec Salamaca were arrested last October and each charged with: third degree welfare fraud, misuse of food stamps, third degree grand larceny, first degree scheme to defraud, criminal possession of untaxed cigarettes, fourth degree criminal tax fraud, and 41 counts of criminal sale of untaxed cigarettes.

Olec Salamaca is also charged with first degree criminal use of a public benefit card.

Fifty-six people are accused of misusing their EBT cards. Authorities say more arrests and charges are pending.




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