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Man arrested on fraud suspicion

ALBANY, Ga. -- Investigators arrested one man for running a fraudulent scheme that took the state for more than $100,000, according to law enforcement officials.

Mayurkumar Patel, 31, was arrested at his father's 701 N. Jefferson St. Downtown Eatery and More convenience store and restaurant at about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, said Greg Edwards, Dougherty District Attorney.

By 6 p.m. Patel had not been booked into Dougherty County Jail, but he was expected, said a jail spokeswoman.

"The charges are financial transaction fraud and computer theft," Edwards said. "He took thousands, in excess of $100,000, from a taxpayer program that is supposed to help people buy food."

The way the scheme worked, according to Edwards, is that Patel would accept a Electronic Benefit Transfer system card meant to purchase food at his father's store from customers.

Patel would then charge the food-stamp system as if food were purchased. Patel would give cash back to the customer instead of food, Edwards said.

"He operated like this," Edwards said. "Say he took a card for $100. He would return $60 to the cardholder and keep $40 for himself."

During the raid by District Attorney's Office, investigators seized the store's EBT machine, records computers and receipts.

The store could was closed but could open again without the EBT set up, Edwards said. The case remains under investigation. More people could be arrested and other charges could be added to Patel's list, he added.