HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The owners of Becky’s and Mary’s restaurant, Rebecca Ingram and Mary Frances Ingram, pleaded guilty to fraud Wednesday in federal court.
A news release from the US Department of Justice states that from January 2015 to October 2016, the owners used more than 180 SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer cards also known as EBT cards to buy food for the restaurant.
Federal agents raided the restaurant in November, finding 21 EBT cards and a notebook with names, card numbers and pin numbers.
None of the cards belonged to the Ingrams, according to the news release.
On Wednesday, a sign was posted on the front door of the restaurant saying it was closed for the day.
The sign said it would reopen on Thursday, April 20.
"Very sad," said Corvin Davis, who lives in Greensboro and often eats at the restaurant.
"Brought tears to my eyes when I first heard about it,” said Keith Bullock, a regular customer.
The restaurant has been on East Washington Drive for decades and is usually packed with customers.
"A lot of people come here for their lunch and breakfast," Davis said.
"The food is awesome,” said Krystal Guidry, who lives in High Point.
Many call it a "staple in the community" not just for its soul food but also for its service.
"I like ‘em, they're good people,” Bullock said.
Both women face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The court may also order restitution to victims of the offense.
Some hope the sentence will be light.
"I hope they can give them something like community service, no jail time," Davis said.
The owners of the restaurant will be sentenced on Aug. 22.