MUHAMMAD SAMAD Sentenced In $16M Muslim Food Stamp Fraud Operation…You Won’t Believe His Punishment

A ring of Muslim store owners played the system and made over $16 million  off of the American taxpayers…BUT Muhammad Sarmad was sentenced to just 18 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. Does anyone else see how this is a joke of a sentence for a HUGE crime? How is this a deterrent when the guy gets out in 18 months?

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Muhammad Sarmad, age 41, of Nottingham, Maryland, to 18 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to illegally redeem food stamp benefits in exchange for cash. At the sentencing on March 27, 2017, Judge Bennett also ordered that Sarmad pay restitution of $3,550,662.

Sarmad, co-defendant Mohammad Irfan, and other family members owned and/or operated New Sherwood Market, 6324 Sherwood Road in Northwood, Maryland; Martin Mart, 1504 Martin Boulevard in Middle River, Maryland; Rosedale Mart, 6326 Kenwood Avenue in Rosedale, Maryland; and M&A Mart 7400-A Belair Road in Baltimore.

All of the stores were authorized to accept SNAP, except the M&A Mart. According to their plea agreements, from October 2010 through at least July 2016, Sarmad, Irfan, and their co-conspirators exchanged EBT benefits for cash, in violation of the food stamp program rules. Sarmad, Irfan, and their co-conspirators typically paid half the value of the EBT benefits in cash. To avoid detection, they often debited the funds from the card in multiple transactions over a period of hours or days, or called a different store where the transaction was processed manually. Since the M&A Mart was not authorized to accept SNAP, Sarmad or a co-conspirator would call one of the other stores to run the transaction at the other store and then hand out the cash at M&A Mart.

Sarmad, Irfan and their co-conspirators received instruction regarding the requirements and regulations of the food stamp program, including that only eligible food items could be exchanged for EBT benefits, and that a retailer may never exchange EBT benefits for cash or non-food items. Sarmad admitted that from October 2010 through August 2016, Sarmad and his co-conspirators obtained more than $3.5 million in payments for food sales that never occurred or were substantially inflated.

In addition to Sarmad and Irfan, nine other retail store operators have pleaded guilty to their roles in similar schemes to illegally redeem food stamp benefits in exchange for cash, and are awaiting sentencing. Three other defendants are scheduled to go to trial later this year.

HERE’S A LIST OF THE OTHER STORE OPERATORS ON THIS CASE:

Walayat Khan, 36, of Reisterstown; Barbara Ann Duke, 50, of Owings Mills: Maria’s Market Place, 307 S. Broadway in Baltimore; and Royals Food Market, 921 E. Patapsco Avenue in Brooklyn, Maryland. From Oct. 2013 to June 2016, Khan and Duke allegedly obtained more than $1,486,118 in payments for food sales that never happened.

Shaheen Tasewar Hussain, 60, of Ellicott City: Shop & Save, 301 Crain Highway South, Suite D, Glen Burnie, Maryland. From July 2014 through October 2015, Hussain allegedly obtained more than $778,183 in payments for food sales that never happened.

Kelym Novas Perez, 34, of Baltimore; and Jose Remedio Gonzalez Reyes, 50, of Baltimore: Kelym Grocery, 2734 Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore. From Aug. 2013 through March 2016, Perez and her husband, Gonzalez Reyes, allegedly obtained more than $879,500 in payments for food sales that never happened.

Mulazam Hussain, 54, of Windsor Mill: Monroe Food Mart and Y&J Grocery in Baltimore. From March 2013 through July 2016 Hussain allegedly obtained more than $1,242,745 in payments for food sales that never happened.

Mohammad Shafiq, 50, of Gwynn Oak, and his daughter, Alia Shaheen, 24, of Baltimore: Quick Stop Convenience Store, 237 N. Patterson Park Avenue; New York Food Mart, 1201 N. Patterson Park Avenue; and Barclay Food Mart, 2454 Barclay Street, all in Baltimore; and Shafiq Corporation at 6929 Holabird Avenue in Dundalk. From about Oct. 2010 through July 2016, Shafiq and Shaheen allegedly obtained more than $3,712,353 in payments for food sales that never happened or were substantially inflated.

Mohammad Irfan, 59; and Muhammad Sarmad, 40, both of Nottingham: New Sherwood Market, 6324 Sherwood Road in Northwood, Maryland; Martin Mart, 1504 Martin Boulevard in Middle River, Maryland; Rosedale Mart, 6326 Kenwood Avenue in Rosedale, Maryland; and M&A Mart 7400-A Belair Road in Baltimore. From Oct. 2010 through Aug. 2016, Irfan and Sarmad allegedly obtained more than $3,550,662 in payments for food sales that never happened.

Mahmood Hussain Shah, 57, of Catonsville, and Muhammad Rafiq, 58, of Reisterstown: Corner Groceries, 1242 Darley Avenue in Baltimore. From Oct. 2010 through Aug. 2016, Shah and Rafiq allegedly obtained more than $1,610,556 in payments for food sales that never happened.

Rizwan Pervez, 38, of Essex: M&N Mini Mart, 1846 W. North Avenue; and Mega Mart1, 1522 Ellamont Street, both in Baltimore. From April 2014 through July 2016, Pervez, allegedly obtained more than $1,689,511 in payments for food sales that never happened.

Kassem Mohammad Hafeed, a/k/a Kassam Mohammad Hafeed, 51, Baltimore: Yemen Grocery at 1400 W. Lombard Street in Baltimore. From Oct. 28, 2010 through Aug. 3, 2016, Hafeed allegedly obtained more than $1,532,642 in payments for food sales that never happened.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud; a maximum of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and wire fraud; and a maximum of five years in prison for food stamp fraud.

As a result of unlawful cash transactions, the defendants obtained more than $16,482,270 in EBT deposits for transactions in which food sales never happened or were substantially inflated.

Mohamad Irfan, age 59, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and food stamp fraud, and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Judge Bennett has scheduled sentencing for Irfan on May 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Irfan is detained pending sentencing.

Read more: Refugee Resettlement Watch


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