LaFollette vice mayor among 3 named in food stamp fraud indictment

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CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) - Three people, including the vice mayor of LaFollette, Tennessee, were indicted Wednesday on several charges related to an alleged Campbell County food stamp fraud conspiracy.

LaFollette Vice Mayor Joseph David Bolinger, Jennifer Lynn Brown and Jimmie Ivy were named in an 80-count indictment from a Campbell County grand jury. All three were booked into Campbell County jail Wednesday after turning themselves in to authorities.

The charges stem from a Campbell County Sheriff's investigation into a LaFollette business called The Pop Shop where people with EBT cards could go to other businesses and buy items like soda on their cards before returning to The Pop Shop to exchange the products for cash.

In a Facebook live from the scene of an April raid of The Pop Shop, Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins explained that undercover officers completed transactions of products bought with EBT for cash. Goins says officers also bought narcotics at the store in addition to items believed by store owners to be stolen.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the LaFollette Police Department and the 8th Judicial District Drug Task Force were involved in the investigation.

Ivey, 62, garnered the bulk indictment. was charged with 70 counts of theft less than $1,000, five counts of fraudulent receipt of food assistance, one count of criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to commit sale and delivery of marijuana and attempted theft over $1,000.

Bolinger, 68, was charged with one count of criminal conspiracy and four counts of fraudulent receipt of food assistance.

Brown, 34, was charged with one count of criminal conspiracy and five counts of fraudulent receipt of food assistance.

According to the city of LaFollette's website, Bolinger has been a supervisor of water production and quality control with LaFollette Utilities for 44 years in addition to serving as vice mayor. His exact role in the alleged fraud is still unclear.