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Judge revokes bond after Beaumont restaurant owner accused of food stamp fraud fails to appear in court

Judge West reset his bond for $100,000 before setting his trial to begin on May 17, 2021.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Beaumont restaurant owner charged along with more than 60 others in a food stamp fraud case has had his bond revoked.

Johnny Coleman, owner of Coleman's Burger Deli, in Beaumont's south end was accused of electronic benefits fraud in 2019 along with more than 60 others.

Coleman was supposed to make a pre-trial appearance in 252nd District Court before Judge Raquel West on Monday but when his name was called he failed to respond.

His attorney requested a continuance but Judge West denied it because Coleman did not appear in court.

Judge West then revoked Coleman's bond and reset it for $100,000 before setting his trial to begin on May 17, 2021.

Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Johnny Ray Coleman and 61 other people are accused of electronic benefits transfer fraud.

Several others accused in the case have already been sentenced to jail time, prison time and probation for their involvement in the scheme.

From file stories...

The DA'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.

Investigators executed a search warrant at Coleman's Burger Deli, located at 4192 Highland in Beaumont based on information from the Texas Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. 

Investigators discovered over 300 purchases from over 92 different EBT cards from over 61 SNAP recipients, totaling over $71,000 of food used at the restaurant, based on evidence seized, Wortham said. 

Coleman often used a personal debit card to pay the rest of the bill when there were still funds on the EBT accounts, Wortham said. 

The restaurant purchased large amounts of hamburger meat, chicken wings, pork chops, French fries, hamburger buns, shrimp, drinks and condiments, the DA's office said in the release. Investigators found that all of the items were also part of the menu at Coleman's Deli. 

Coleman surrendered himself to law enforcement this weekend, but bonded out, Wortham said. Warrants are pending or executed on the 61 people accused of allowing the restaurant to use their SNAP cards.

Investigators are still looking into other potential fraudulent use of food stamps. 

Texas receives over five billion dollars a year in SNAP benefits, the DA's office said.

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