DPS Arrests Six in Multi-Agency Lone Star Card Fraud Investigation

March 27, 2024

EL PASO – Earlier this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrested six suspects in connection with a Lone Star Card fraud investigation in the El Paso area. Administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Lone Star Cards are Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards used to access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash help payments. From 2016 to the current date, 30 individuals have been arrested for Lone Star Card fraud.

The multi-agency investigation, focusing on subjects and businesses allegedly involved in fraud and abuse of Lone Star Cards, was comprised of the DPS Criminal Investigations Division, Texas Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Trafficking Unit, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) El Paso.

“Our investigation revealed a store owner allowed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to receive cash in exchange for processing redemptions at half the value,” said HSI El Paso Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric McLoughlin. “Among the benefits of working these cases jointly with our local and state law enforcement partners, is that we can identify and arrest the perpetrators who are defrauding a state-run program intended to assist low-income families.”

As a result of the operation, there was a total of six suspects arrested for theft of services and one administratively processed recipient by HHS OIG for the suspected trafficking of EBT/SNAP benefits.

The following individuals were booked in to the El Paso County Jail:

  1. Adriana Franco, 31, of El Paso – Theft Amount - $5,807.00
  2. Alejandra Tagle, 31, of El Paso – Theft Amount - $3,595.44
  3. Arely E. Marin 30, of El Paso – Theft Amount - $4,821.45
  4. Lorenza Franco, 52, of El Paso – Theft Amount - $5,084.65
  5. Mayra C. Menchaca, 32, of El Paso – Theft Amount - $5,643.54
  6. Omar Alberto Gallegos, 42, of El Paso – Theft Amount - $44,475.93
  7. Jessica Cardenas, 37, of El Paso – Theft Amount - $2,180.21 – Administrative processing completed; (not booked)

All the cases have been turned in to the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.  

Read more about Lone Star Card Fraud Awareness and Prevention here.