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Jacksonville Owners Of 2 Asmarina Food Marts Convicted In SNAP Fraud Case

Elise Amendola
Associated Press file photo

A Jacksonville husband and wife who owned a couple of local convenience stores will each spend a year-and-a-half behind bars for ripping off the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps needy families put healthy food on their tables.

Russell Dotson, 63, and Maria Dotson, 66, owned and operated two Asmarina Food Marts in Jacksonville.

Federal prosecutors said the Dotsons taught their employees to ring up fake purchases on SNAP recipients’ EBT cards and then split the cash between the recipients and the convenience store.

The illegal benefits exchange generated more than $250,000 for the Dotsons, according to prosecutors, which they’ve been ordered to repay.

A dozen employees and SNAP recipients have already pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme and will collectively pay $250,000 in restitution to the U.S. government.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.