DETROIT (AP) – Federal officials have arrested three Detroit area market owners following a food stamp fraud investigation.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Friday in a release that authorities searched eight markets in a two-day sweep in Detroit, Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.

Authorities say the retailers redeemed benefits under the food stamp program for cash, cigarettes, liquor, clothing and other items.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in Detroit says `taxpayers in Michigan fund the food stamp program to provide food for the needy, not to create a commodity to be traded for profit.”

A Bridge Card enforcement initiative has resulted in 132 arrests, about $23.5 million in fines and court-ordered restitution and more than $4 million in forfeitures in Michigan since 2007.

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