The International District’s Seattle Chinese Herb & Grocery’s owner, Elsa Kwong, was sentenced on Dec. 12 for food stamp fraud, according to a report by KING 5. Kwong had pleaded guilty last March.
Kwong was sentenced with three years on supervised release and will pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program fraud.
The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release that the investigation focused on Seattle Chinese Herb & Grocery. The store allegedly hired “runners” to approach people who had just received their food stamp debit cards, ran the cards for a set amount, and then paid half that amount in cash to the recipients, who didn’t get any food.
When asked about the charges, an unidentified store employee at Seattle Chinese Herb & Grocery said her boss was not there and she didn’t know anything about the charges. At the time, when asked about the arrest of Kwong, the store’s owner, denied the arrest took place.