(Entravision) Dean D. Flippo, Monterey County District Attorney, announced today that on February 19, 2014, Lorena Cervantes, age 22 and a resident of Salinas, was sentenced for illegally selling her Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (commonly known as EBT cards). These cards are issued instead of checks or cash to provide public assistance money. Cervantes had pleaded guilty to the charge on January 8, 2014.
On February 12, 2013, investigators for the Special Investigations Unit, which handles welfare fraud crimes, received an anonymous tip that Cervantes was selling her EBT cards. The investigators discovered that Cervantes and been issued eleven separate EBT cards during a three-month period after repeatedly claiming that she had lost her cards.
Investigators went to the different locations where the EBT cards had been used. After examining surveillance tapes, the investigators were able to conclude that Cervantes had never used any of the cards. When Cervantes was confronted with the evidence gathered by the investigators, she admitted to selling her EBT cards to others to support her methamphetamine habit.
Cervantes was sentenced on February 19, 2014, by Monterey County Superior Court Judge Russell Scott. The Court ordered that she serve 280 days in county jail and an additional three years of felony probation.
District Attorney Investigator Don Magnuson was in charge of the investigation.