A Quincy store owner has been sentenced to 2 ½ years in jail after pleading guilty to a welfare fraud scheme in which he exchanged food stamps for cash.

Pat Lu, owner of Pat's Mini Mart, was sentenced Thursday in Norfolk Superior Court after pleading guilty to larceny over $250, procurement fraud and access device fraud. He was also sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to pay $285,000 in restitution.

Authorities say the 49-year-old Lu exchanged food stamp benefits for cash, with Lu entering fraudulent information on an EBT and paying cash to the customer for half of what he charged for their purchase. He also allowed customers to use EBT cards to buy cigarettes, which is illegal. Prosecutors say the store processed $800,000 in fraudulent EBT transactions.

[Associated Press]