Hagatña, Guam – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendant Marites M. Barrogo, age 47 from Dededo, Guam was sentenced in the United States District Court of Guam to ten months imprisonment for Conspiracy to Use, Transfer, Acquire, Alter, or Possess Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits Without Authorization, in violation of 7 U.S.C. § 2024 and 18 U.S.C. § 371. The Court also ordered three years of supervised release following imprisonment and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee. In addition, defendants convicted of trafficking SNAP benefits are ineligible to receive SNAP benefits and may not participate in the program as vendors.
From June 2015-2018, investigation revealed that Marites M. Barrogo, owner of Laguna Best Restaurant, illegally purchased over $15,000 worth of SNAP benefits. Barrogo purchased SNAP benefits from co-conspirators at a discount on their face value on an approximately monthly basis and used the benefits to purchase food items from various retailers on Guam for use at her restaurant.
U.S. Attorney Anderson stated, “SNAP benefits enable low income individuals to meet their basic nutrition needs. The recipients are often children. The unlawful transfer of these benefits, as occurred in this matter, greatly diminishes the impact of the program in keeping our communities healthy. The public should also have confidence that federal funds are appropriately used.”
This case was investigated by the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services Investigation and Recovery Office and prosecuted by Benjamin K. Petersburg, Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Guam.