ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert said arrests were made Wednesday night following investigations by state, local and federal agencies.
Adham Salam of Ville Platte and Anwar Hadaba and Frank Fletcher of Alexandria were arrested for corporate income tax evasion, fraud and money laundering in relation to filing false reports of tobacco sales at convenience stores A&A Quick Stop and A&A Quick Stop #2, both located along South Chataignier Street in Ville Platte.
Agents said the investigation found that more than $400,000 in tax payments were concealed between 2007 and 2009 and about $3 million in income was concealed by filing false corporate income tax reports with the ATC and the state Department of Revenue.
"We owe it to the people who work hard every day and pay their taxes to bring those that don't to justice," Hebert said.
The report says that Fletcher, the businesses' bookkeeper, was charged after investigators said he knowingly prepared false tobacco renewal application affidavits and corporate tax documents.
Hebert said ATC continues to work with the Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac's office on the case, which is ongoing. Additional arrests are expected.
ATC special agents also arrested three Ville Platte residents Wednesday night on charges that they participated in an illegal food stamp trafficking operation.
Mouneve Allan, Annette Weston and Elizabeth Serie are charged with illegal food stamp trafficking, computer fraud and criminal conspiracy connected to the illegal sale of food stamp benefits.
The arrests are the result of a joint investigation by ATC's Investigative Services Unit, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services and the Ville Platte Police Department.
Agents said the alleged operation, originally exposed in 2009, was based at A&A Quick Stop No. 2 located at 802 S. Chataignier St. in Ville Platte.
ATC agents initiated an investigation after receiving information from the Ville Platte Police Department about numerous complaints received by officers regarding the exchange of food stamp benefits for alcohol, tobacco and cash.
"The blatant abuse of this assistance program will not be tolerated," Hebert said. "Thanks goes out to the good businesses and people out there who report this illegal activity."
According to investigators, Allan illegally purchased food stamp information from benefit recipients on multiple occasions while working as an employee at A&A Quick Stop No. 2. Allan used the information and fraudulently represented himself as a food stamp benefit recipient to purchase items from a separate retail business.
Investigators also charged Weston and Serie, two benefit recipients, for illegally selling their food stamp benefits to Allan.
ATC is working with the Evangeline Parish district attorney's office in prosecuting the case, Hebert said. The investigation is continuing and additional arrests are expected.