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Jamestown man pleads guilty to food stamp fraud

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Joseph M. Gullotti, 57, of Jamestown, NY, pleaded guilty to food stamp benefits fraud before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant owned and operated Fresh Cut Meats & More at 631 Newland Avenue in Jamestown. Gullotti, as the owner of Fresh Cut, was authorized to accept and redeem food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits a retailer from accepting food stamps for ineligible items such as beer, cigarettes, and hot prepared food, from giving cash for the benefits, and from using the benefits to pay for items purchased on credit.
           
Between January 2015 and March 21, 2017, the defendant and others accpeted food stamp benefits to pay for merchandise purchased on credit by a beneficiary including ineligible items. During that time, Gullotti and others engaged in approximately $173,515 of unlawful transactions.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; and the Jamestown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Harry Snellings.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 23, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Wolford.