UPDATE: SJ man arrested after multi-agency EBT fraud investigation involving popular Hemet market

UPDATED: Wednesday, Nov. 7 4 p.m.

See original story, photos, and live video from the scene of raids below.

HEMET — Hemet PD has released additional information about two multi-agency raids related to what one official called a “particularly despicable” EBT fraud he said left tax payers as the true victims.

Orlando Ontivero-Angulo, 39, of San Jacinto was arrested this morning by Hemet police officers following an extensive investigation that included undercover operations at La Perla Market, on the 800 block of E. Florida Ave. The investigation culminated today with the service of search warrants at the popular market as well as Ontivero-Angulo’s San Jacinto home.

A variety of state and federal agencies assisted with this morning’s warrant services and the sight of dozens of law enforcement officers converging at the two locations caused a wave of online speculation about the cause of all the activity.

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According to Hemet Police Lt. Eric Dickson, detectives assigned to the department’s R.O.C.S. (Restoring Our Community Strategy) Team received information earlier this year that the market was conducting fraudulent Electronic Benefits Transfers (EBT).

Ontivero-Angulo’s family members look on as officers collect several bags of evidence during the raid that took place at his San Jacinto home. Eddie George/Hemet News photo

EBT cards are part of an electronic system that allow state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card.

The cards are meant to be used for needy families and individuals to purchase household foods such as breads and cereal; fruits and vegetables; meat, fish and poultry; and dairy products.

The cards are not allowed to be used to purchase alcoholic beverages; pet foods; soap, paper, or household supplies; vitamins and medicine; or hot foods that can be eaten at the location where the purchases were made.

“R.O.C.S. Detectives reached out to federal and state partners and several undercover operations were conducted,” Dickson explained. Those undercover operations confirmed “fraudulent EBT transactions were being conducted by the owner at the location and that other violations were occurring.”

According to Dickson, the EBT fraud included accepting EBT for unauthorized purchases and overcharging for authorized EBT purchases.

Ontivero-Angulo would then pocket the money, Dickson explained, saying R.O.C.S. detective’s initial investigation suggests that at least $50,000.00 may have been fraudulently charged through EBT.

R.O.C.S. detectives eventually obtained search warrants for Ontivero-Angulo’s San Jacinto home as well as the market in Hemet. Hemet PD officials, along with state and federal law enforcement agencies served the warrants this morning around 7 a.m.

Evidence was collected from both locations and Ontivero-Angulo was arrested for fraud related charges according to Dickson, who said, “As the investigation continues, additional charges may be added.”

As part of the ongoing investigation, Riverside County Department of Environmental Health conducted an inspection of the business and subsequently determined the market was unsafe to remain open.

Based on their inspection and findings, D.E.H. agents closed the business until it can be brought into compliance.

“This crime is particularly despicable,” Captain Glen Brock, who oversees the Hemet Police Department’s Community Services Division, later said of the investigation. “This man is taking advantage of families who truly need the funds this program provides, the tax payers are the real victims here.”

 

Original Story: Details beginning to emerge after multi-agency EBT fraud investigation in Hemet

UPDATED: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2 p.m., With Hemet News video from raids, other details.

HEMET — Details have begun to emerge after a huge, multi-agency series of raids in Hemet that involved a well-known market as well as the market owner’s home this morning, Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Hemet PD has said they will be releasing more information soon, but what is known at this time is that City, State, and Federal officials this morning swarmed La Perla Carniceria & Mexican Market, located at 871 E. Florida Ave., southwest of S. Santa Fe St., as well as the market owner’s San Jacinto home.

Local, State, and Federal officials converged on a Hemet market and home this morning as part of a fraud investigation involving EBT cards. Eddie George, Hemet News photo

The owner, who has not yet been identified, was reportedly apprehended near his home as he prepared to leave the residence.

Officials were observed forcing entry into the two-story residence, located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac on the 200 block of Peregrine Ln. near Center Grove Way, and were later seen carrying out numerous bags and other items of potential evidentiary value.

Several vehicles, including a Cadillac Escalade and black sedan were searched as part of the ongoing investigation and were later towed and stored as evidence.

Hemet PD has said the investigation was related to EBT fraud and involved countless area residents who conspired with the market and its owner to defraud the government of tens of thousands of dollars.

EBT, or Electronic Benefit Transfer, cards are part of an electronic system that allow state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card.

The cards are meant to be used for needy families and individuals to purchase household foods such as breads and cereal; fruits and vegetables; meat, fish and poultry; and dairy products.

The cards are not allowed to be used to purchase alcoholic beverages; pet foods; soap, paper, or household supplies; vitamins and medicine; or hot foods that can be eaten at the store where the purchases were made.

Officials have reportedly said that the fraud investigation is active and ongoing at this time and additional arrests of those who fraudulently used their government issued EBT cards at the market could follow in upcoming days.

Hemet News was on-scene for both the home and market raids – after being invited to ride along with Hemet PD’s Cpt. Brock – and will be releasing video and additional photos from this morning’s police activity later today.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Eddie George/Hemet News video

 

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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