The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 26, 2014

Food stamp trafficking charged

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Two Enid women have been charged with trafficking in food stamps, after attempting to sell their benefits so they could bond a man out of Grant County Jail.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Heather Elaine Maly, 29, and Alma Rosa Escobar, 27. Bond on the warrants for both women is set at $5,000.

Maly and Escobar each face up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted of the charge.

The charges follow an investigation last year by Oklahoma Department of Human Services/Office of Inspector General.

An affidavit filed by senior investigative agent Michael Adams states Maly and Escobar both are recipients of food stamp benefits, with Maly receiving about $327 a month for herself and and Escobar receiving about $500 in benefits a month for herself and children.

Adams stated in the affidavit he received information Maly was planning to sell her benefits to raise enough money to bond her boyfriend, Jabier Flores, out of the Grant County Jail. Escobar is Flores’ sister, and also lives with Maly and Flores.

According to the affidavit, Adams reviewed official documents, received statements from witnesses and conducted an undercover operation.

Adams was told by a Grant County deputy who took Flores to court Nov. 12, 2013, that she allowed Flores to use the phone to arrange bond. Based on what was said, the deputy believed Maly was planning to sell her benefits to obtain bond money.

Adams used the number Flores called and spoke with a woman who identified herself as Heather. Adams arranged to buy $200 worth of food stamps for $100 cash, according to the affidavit. Maly agreed to meet Adams in the parking lot of United Foods and Evans True Value Hardware in the 1000 block of West Willow.

At 11:17 a.m., Adams met Maly at the arranged location, and Maly agreed to sell the $200 of food stamps for $100, according to the affidavit. Maly then said she would sell the entire $420 worth of benefits on the card for $200 cash.

Adams agreed to Maly’s offer and said he would have to get the money from a nearby ATM. Maly agreed and handed Adams an EBT card belonging to Escobar, according to the affidavit.

Adams then identified himself as a law enforcement officer and told Maly she was not under arrest, but he did interview her.

During the interview, Maly explained Flores was her boyfriend and was incarcerated in Grant County, and she was trying to gather enough money to post his bond, according to the affidavit.

She said Escobar, who is Flores’ sister, gave her the EBT card with permission to sell the food stamps.

Adams also interviewed Escobar. During her interview, Escobar admitted to giving Maly the food stamp EBT card and permission to sell the benefits in an attempt to raise money for her brother’s bond, according to the affidavit.