The owner of Pecks Drive Market in Everett was arrested today after Everett Police detectives working alongside special agents from the US Department of Agriculture/ Office of Inspector General(USDA-OIG) served a search warrant on the business as part of a nearly four month long investigation. The 54 year old Lynnwood man was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for Money Laundering, Trafficking in Food Stamps, and Unlawful Redemption of Food Stamps.
This investigation began when a man came to the police department claiming to have been a victim of theft. Taken in the theft was his “Quest” card. The card was taken from an ice chest in room with the unknown suspect leaving another card in its place. When he went to use that card he discovered it wasn’t his. The victim checked the transaction history of his card and discovered nearly $150 had been debited at Pecks Drive Market. The victim told detectives that he knew the market was conducting fraudulent transaction provided their “customers” $.50 on the dollar. (i.e. card swiped for $100.00, store gives the card holder $50.00)
During the investigation undercover officers from both agencies on several occasions successfully completed these same types of transactions. Further evidence that fraud was occurring was discover when detectives, using data supplied by the USDA-OIG, found a huge increase in the amount EBT redemptions during 2010. In January 2010 EBT transactions at the market totaled just over $4200. In December of last year that total was over $50,000. The average month transaction total was over $9,200 with the calendar year total in just EBT transaction alone for this small market was over $306,000 dollars.