Attorney for Busch's Country Corner owners denies food stamp fraud allegations

CINCINNATI -- The owners of Busch's Country Corner are denying accusations that they committed food stamp fraud. 

Benjamin Dusing, the attorney representing Amanda and Michael Busch, said court documents filed by federal authorities "are misleading, incomplete, and do not remotely tell the whole story."

Federal agents raided the Findlay Market shop last week, seeking financial records, security camera recordings and electronic communications. Authorities said the couple and Michael Busch's brother, Randall, earned about $3.5 million over eight years in a food stamp fraud scheme. 

They could face charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit wire fraud, unauthorized use of food stamp benefits, theft of public money, access device fraud and wire fraud, according to court documents.

Dusing called the allegations "unfair and untrue." He reiterated that no charges have been filed yet.

"It is a family-owned business that has always reflected family values," Dusing said. "The allegations of fraud are inconsistent with these values. Busch's stands on principle in defending itself and looks forward to continuing to serve its customers as it works to clear its good name and hold accountable those who are responsible for causing these false allegations to be made against the business."

Authorities began investigating the business in April 2017, when a confidential informant came forward saying SNAP EBT benefits were being traded for cash, according to court documents.

Investigators said they found Busch's Country Corner conducted an average of about 2,167 individual SNAP EBT transactions each month between October 2010 and March 2018. Comparable companies averaged 868 transactions per month. Busch's monthly average totaled $60,151, compared to a monthly average of $21,807 in similar businesses.

Dusing said Busch's did not have as many food stamp transactions as authorities alleged. He also implied a competitor may have been behind the allegations.

"There are other direct competitors in that marketplace who have a direct and documented legal history of being a problem to the Buschs ... There's been some animosity down there, and the Buschs have been on the wrong end of some poor treatment for a very long time," he said.

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