- Associated Press - Friday, May 29, 2015

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A northeast Ohio storekeeper has been sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing more than $1 million in a food stamp scam.

Forty-five-year-old Johnnie Byrd III was sentenced Thursday in Akron following his conviction last week on charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, grand theft, money laundering and illegal use of food stamps.

The Akron Beacon Journal (https://bit.ly/1KBdCum ) reports that Byrd was accused of cheating the state and federal government out of more than $1 million in food stamp benefits after opening his business, Byrd’s House Groceries, in 2009. Prosecutors say he was running a scam with government-issued electronic benefits transfer cards.

Byrd’s attorney called the evidence circumstantial and said Byrd was innocent.

Byrd also was ordered to pay the government more than $750,000 in restitution.

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