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Alleged Food Stamps Fraudster Skips Town On Day Of Trial

An official demonstrates the wearing of an electronic monitoring ankle-bracelet. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

Massachusetts State Police are seeking a fugitive who cut his ankle monitor Thursday morning and skipped his food stamps fraud trial, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page.

Martin Santiago was scheduled to appear a the Essex Superior Court Thursday morning to begin a food stamps trafficking trial, but he did not show up, police said. Investigators determined that he “forcibly removed his court-ordered monitoring device” at approximately 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

Santiago is from the Dominican Republic, and is not a United States citizen, according to police. He also has used two fraudulent identities, Mark Santiago and Martin Billone Santiago, the Police said.

Santiago is not a U.S. citizen, and the Essex County District Attorney’s office was not immediately able to confirm to The Daily Caller News Foundation if he was living in the U.S. legally at the time of his arrest in 2015.

Santiago was arrested in June 2015 and charged with trafficking $1.5 million in EBT benefits, also called food stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, at three stores he owned in the Lawrence, Mass., area. He and several of his employees would deduct money from a customer’s EBT card and give a fraction of that money back to the customer in cash, the Boston Globe reported in 2015.

The Essex County District Attorney’s Office sought a high cash bail for Santiago, but instead the court set bail at $75,000, and Santiago was released with an ankle monitor to await trial, the police said.

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