Workers At Oklahoma, Indiana C-stores Run Afoul

A federal grand jury has indicted a Gary, Ind., c-store operator on allegations he turned food stamp benefits into illegal cash for himself and his customers, The Times publication in Munster, Ind., reported.

Mark Prusinski, 52, of Wheatfield, Ind., is facing 24 counts of wire fraud and money laundering revolving around his business, Mark’s Food Mart, The Times reported. Authorities say Prusinski is accused of illegally redeeming tens of thousands of dollars between 2004 and last year.

The indictment says Prusinski and his employees told regular customers they could give him their food stamp cards, and he would give them cash amounting to 65% of the face value of their benefits.

The government alleges Prusinski would later redeem the benefits at full face value, and he concealed the scheme through various financial transactions. A confidential informant received cash from Prusinski’s business this way on seven occasions between fall 2006 and spring 2007, according to the indictment.

Additionally, an employee at Kwik-Chek food stores in Oklahoma has been indicted for allegedly conspiring to fix the price of retail fuel at stores in Antlers, Okla.

A federal grand jury in Oklahoma returned a one-count indictment today charging Texas-based Kwik-Chek Food Stores Inc. and one of its agents, Jarrod "Judd" Thomas, with conspiring to fix the price of retail gasoline and diesel fuel sold in Antlers, Okla.

The indictment was filed today in the U.S. District Court in Muskogee, Okla.. It alleges Thomas, acting on behalf of Kwik-Chek, conspired to fix the prices of retail gasoline and diesel with competing retailers in Antlers.

Kwik-Chek has c-stores in Oklahoma and Texas, including two in Antlers, Okla. The indictment says the conspiracy began at least as early as 2002 and continued until at least June 2007.

"There can be no tolerance for these kinds of conspiracies," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division. "The Antitrust Division is committed to enforcing the antitrust laws to protect American consumers."

The indictment says Thomas and co-conspirators discussed and agreed to raise, fix and maintain the prices for gasoline and diesel products sold to customers in Antlers.

Kwik-Chek and Thomas are charged with conspiring to fix prices of retail gasoline and diesel fuel in violation of Section One of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1 million for individuals, and $100 million for corporations.

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