The owner of a dairy products company was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $10,000 for scheming to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from a government program for indigent mothers and their children, officials said Wednesday.
Fermin Vasquez, 59, of Cerritos, who owns Pure Milk Dairy, was sentenced Tuesday by Superior Court Judge Robert T. Altman, the district attorney's office said in a prepared statement.
Vasquez earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit grand theft.
Investigators said a three-year probe disclosed that Vasquez and other firms directed their milkmen to accept government-issued coupons intended for other vendors and either rubbed off the vendors' names or forged their firm's names and redeemed them, boosting their profits by 20% to 25%.
Between January, 1983, and April, 1986, Pure Milk Dairy redeemed more than $10.4 million in coupons issued by the Women, Infant and Children Supplemental Food Program, financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the state Department of Health Services.