JEFFERSON COUNTY, Texas — A woman who pled guilty to food stamp fraud in an investigation of Beaumont restaurant owner accused of using food stamps belonging to dozens of people to buy food for his eatery was sentenced this morning.
Paula Annice Alemestica was sentenced Monday morning before Judge Raquel West in the 252nd District Court to a five-year probated prison sentence and was ordered to pay restitution and do community service.
She was charged with illegal transfer of food stamps, a third degree felony.
Alemestica is one of 62 defendants accused of food stamp fraud after investigators say restaurant owner Johnny Ray Coleman used their food stamp cards to purchase food for his restaurant, Coleman's Burger Deli.
Coleman is set to stand trial October 19. He and 61 other people were indicted on fraud charges alleging that thousands of dollars in food bought with "food stamps" were sold at Coleman's Burger Deli June 12, 2019.
The Jefferson County District Attorney's office called it "a scheme involving the fraudulent use of benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits" wherein $71,000 worth of food were sold at a Beaumont restaurant.