UPDATES: New OSIG filings allegedly show Chambersburg mini-market owners conducted two year, $184,000+ SNAP fraud

04 March 2024- New court filings by the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General appear to show that the owners of a Chambersburg market illegally bought/traded for 85 SNAP benefit cards, amounting to nearly $200,000 in public assistance fraud. Duckens Paul and Marie E. Registe are both charged with felony buying SNAP benefits, felony conspiracy to buy SNAP benefits, felony fraudulent traffic in SNAP, felony conspiracy to commit fraudulent trafficking in SNAP, felony theft by deception, felony conspiracy to commit theft by deception, deceitful business practices, felony conspiracy to commit deceitful business practices, and felony corrupt organizations. Registe is also charged with felony fraudulently obtained food stamps and another count of felony theft by deception. Both Paul and Registe are free on unsecured bails of $50,000.

PA’s Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) was originally contacted by Franklin County’s County Assistance Office (CAO) in early January 2022 about a tip the latter had received about two people having their EBT cards stolen. Those cards, the tip said, both had unauthorized transactions at the Manmanyo Mini Market/Haitian Caribbean Mini Market (same store) located on Lincoln Way West in the borough. The striking part, the tip reportedly said, was that the cards were likely sold to the store for cash due to the high dollar transactions made on both cards.

The owners of that mini market were determined to be Marie Registe (Manmanyo) and Duckens Paul (Haitian Caribbean Mini Market), but both were located under the same roof and operated as one entity despite having two names. The operation was a SNAP retailer, with Paul being the primary handler of the EBT point of sale machine. Since 2018, OSIG says that Paul and Registe were aware of the repercussions of mistakes made against the SNAP system and program. Due to the size and capacity of the building, OSIG investigators were wary of the number (in the hundreds they say) of high dollar EBT transactions that took place at the store.

From February 14th, 2022 through July 12th, 2022, OSIG agents and the PSP Electronic Surveillance Section ran video tape on the property, assessing times at which people entered the store. The investigators also had access to STARS and EPPIC, the two electronic systems that marked all EBT transactions across the state. Matching when sales went through on EPPIC and when people entered the store, investigators reportedly found many people left the store empty handed despite being charged high dollar amounts on their EBT cards. During these times, OSIG say that Registe and/or Paul were at the store’s counter.

A search warrant was executed on the mini market on July 27th of 2022 yielded a personal surveillance system and its video footage of the store. This footage allegedly showed multiple transactions where individuals swiped their EBT card and Registe or Paul handed the EBT card holders cash. Also taken in the warrant service were EBT receipts, notebooks, day planners, and digital cash register data. The physical items reportedly contained handwritten numbers next to the receipt totals.

In February and October of 2023, OSIG were able to obtain certified reports from the PA Department of State and Conduent (the company that handles much of the digital infrastructure of SNAP, including EPPIC) that led the investigators to believe Paul and Registe were illegally using the benefits program.

All totaled, OSIG are alleging that Registe and Paul illegally exchanged eighty five EBT cards for cash between May 3, 2021 and January 28, 2023. The total of money illegally charged to these EBT cards amounted to $184,757.05.

As for Registe, OSIG are alleging that she failed to report ownership of Manmanyo Mini Market/Haitian Caribbean Mini Market during signing of documents where she applied for SNAP benefits herself. These applications were dated March 15 of 2020, May 9 of 2022, and June 30 of 2022.

Additionally, OSIG say that they have certified bank statements, withdrawal slips, and deposit slips for the market from Truist Bank registered to Registe. These documents allegedly show Registe had “consistent income during the overpayment period and there were no breaks in her income.” They allege that between March 15, 2021 and September 30, 2022, Registe had a gross income of over $315,000, making her ineligible for SNAP benefits.

At this time, a large number of people have been charged with SNAP fraud since charges were made available against Registe and Paul. These individuals may not be associated with the case but nonetheless have been indicted by the OSIG for SNAP fraud charges. The list of those charged, as of time of publication, can be found below.

  • Bridgette Renee Fair
  • Joseph Andrew Ardrey
  • Confessor Cruz Junior
  • Courtney Leanne Cole
  • Pehiel Cetoute
  • Mirelys Caraballo
  • Jilande Bienaime
  • Larry James Ardrey
  • Sara Joel Engle
  • Gerald Patricia Beckford
  • Tahonee Alayia-Ray Fickes
  • Cheyenne Genevie
  • Ifill Levison Godderd
  • Christopher Alfreeman Harris
  • Noelle Marie Heinbaugh
  • Angela Erin Holloman
  • Darla Linchelle Johns
  • Ashly Nicole Fausey
  • Robert Wayne Fausey
  • Dina Lopez Contreras
  • Yarissa Herlera-Pena
  • Shauna Marie Conklin
  • Christopher Exave Foust
  • Toni Nichole Cross
  • Nona Florene Radcliff
  • Angela Marie Quattlebaum
  • Kristine M. Portocarrero
  • Richard Eugene Oller Jr
  • Joseph Weston Nailor
  • Elizabeth Mae Moore
  • Alejandrina Lara Florentin
  • Eddie Lee King Jr
  • David Anthony Jones
  • Jarred Neal Cordell
  • Nadgi Ivelisse Colon
  • Laura Nicole Coby-Harder

Paul and Registe have court appearances set for March 19th at Central Court in Chambersburg.

Sources: Docket Number: MJ-39201-CR-0000073-2024, Incident No.: 2103211-2, Docket Number: MJ-39201-CR-0000074-2024, Incident No.: 2103211-1