Danville restaurant owner pleads guilty to defrauding SNAP for nearly $2 million

He and his employees redeemed SNAP benefits in exchange for cash for nearly 8 years

Seafood And More in Danvile, Virginia. Image captured July 2019. (Google)

DANVILLE, Va. – A Danville restaurant owner pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding the federal government.

Bobby Lee James, who owns Seafood & More on South Main Street in Danville, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of food stamp fraud in federal court.

Court documents show that from October 2010 to July 2018, SNAP redemptions for Seafood and More exceeded the state average of all other seafood specialty class stores in Virginia by more than $2,465,555, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

James admitted that he directed his employees to redeemed SNAP benefits in exchange for cash and knew what he was doing was wrong.

In total, Seafood and More caused approximately $1,835,767 in loses to the SNAP program, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Societal safety net programs, such as SNAP, exist to provide vital resources for those in our communities in need, not to line the pockets of fraudsters,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar said Wednesday. “When individuals defraud these programs, this United States Attorney’s Office, and our state and local partners, will hold them accountable.”

During his sentencing, James will face a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

About the Author: