Muhammad Shahbaz of Waterbury, Connecticut, just plead guilty to a multi-million dollar food stamp fraud scheme.
Bongs and hookahs were bought on your dime!
According to the Justice Department, the store “allowed customers to redeem their food stamp benefits for cash and other ineligible items, including cigarettes, glass pipes, bongs, and hookahs”
The Waterbury Fair Trade Grocery Store worker got a slap on the wrist and probably won’t serve the entire 5-year sentence for bilking the American taxpayers out of $3 million using food stamps to commit fraud.
The early DOJ press statement on the Waterbury store never says who the store owner is but mentions three employees who were in on the scam. These co-conspirators only got 30-months!
According to Breitbart News:
Muhammad Shahbaz, 50, told investigators that he charged people who receive food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) double for items that were not allowed to be purchased with benefits at WB Trade Fair Grocery store in Waterbury, Connecticut, NJ.com reported.
He also allowed SNAP recipients to trade their benefits for cash at half price and ran the scheme with three other employees at the store.
The incidences of ‘new Americans’ who are fraudulently exchanging food stamps for cash should be a reason for immediate deportation once they’ve served their jail sentence.
Reports of several immigrant store owners committing fraud using food stamps is a problem that should be looked at more closely. These ‘new Americans’ get loans to open the stores and then take advantage of the opportunity by scamming Americans out of MILLIONS.
Cases like these are all too common across America and taxpayers should be livid.
Another reason America is a global magnet for immigration and refugee resettlement is that small business loans via the INVESTOR VISA PROGRAM (see below) are more easily given to them. This special program for immigrants to help them get a leg up with a loan could be the instigator for fraudsters from allover the world to come to America. (see below).
Federal investigators accuse a Des Moines of stealing money from state and federal food assistance programs.
The Des Moines Register reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is suing Osman Jama, owner of the MidCity Halal Foods Mart, to take possession of three homes it believes he purchased with money taken fraudulently from state and federal food assistance programs.
One of three houses Osman allegedly purchased with money stolen from U.S. taxpayers:
Bank records show Jama used proceeds of the improper food assistance sales to pay for all or portions of three properties in Polk County, prosecutors said in the petition. The U.S. government is attempting to seize two Windsor Heights homes at 6423 Northwest Drive and 1724 63rd St., and a Des Moines home at 1219 15th St. The combined assessed value of the homes is almost $379,000, according to county land records.
In a 47-page complaint, investigators accuse Jama of scanning bar codes on a sheet of paper for SNAP- and WIC-approved items, then allowing customers to take cash or non-approved items for less than the value he charged.
Among other tactics, Jama and his staff would scan baby formula and other products in place of items not eligible for food programs designed to assist low-income families, according to a federal forfeiture claim filed last week in federal court.
SNAP and WIC policy does not allow participants to use the cards to withdraw cash from their accounts.
Investigators said MidCity Halal Foods Market received $1.9 million more from food assistance business than any other market their size in the area from March 2015 to March 2019.
Jama declined an on-camera but let us in to record in the store. He called the accusations against his lies and said there is a misunderstanding.
Investigators report that MidCity did 45,750 WIC redemptions in January 2019, which was the same level of business as big box stores such as Walmart.
Jama attributes the numbers to the unique range of products his market provides i.e. halal food.
MidCity sells items that specifically appeal to African immigrants — including halal meat, which is meat slaughtered according to Islamic religious standards.
THE INVESTOR VISA PROGRAM: IS AMERICA INVITING FRAUDSTERS TO SCAM OUR FOOD STAMP ROGRAM?
A recent Watchdog report claims that billions of US dollars could be lost every year because of food stamp fraud.
The system is like so many others in government that unintentionally incentivize corruption and fraud.
A recent case in Michigan highlights the need for reform:
On the west side of Detroit, a store owner is in hot water with the feds for buying WIC and SNAP benefits at discounted rates.
The owner would buy a card worth $80 for $20 and then use the card at local discount grocers to purchase goods for his store.
The big problem that could fix the continuous fraud is the need for more severe punishment for offenders. Oversight of the program would help stop repeat offenders who get a slap on the hand and then come back years later to recommit the fraud.
The Michigan store owner had been busted years before for fraud and is now a repeat offender.
The punishment for defrauding the American taxpayers is usually a fine and/or a light jail sentence. This needs to change because it’s obviously not enough of a deterrent.
According to a new report produced by the Government and Accountability Office (GAO), at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits are “trafficked annually,” meaning they are fraudulently used. The extent of the fraud is uncertain, the GAO warns, estimating the abuse of the program could be as high as $4.7 billion.
The food stamp trafficking has become an industry unto itself amongst immigrants. Our previous report on the largest ever food stamp trafficking case:
Florida has had its share of food stamp busts but South Florida reached a fraud milestone for what the Justice Department called “the largest combined financial fraud loss for a food stamp trafficking takedown in history.”
RED FLAGS RAISED OVER NAMES INVOLVED:
That dubious new record, federal prosecutors claim, is $20 million and resulted in a dozen charged with doing the government dirty via food stamp fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The 12 charged over four cases are Hasan Saleh, 59, Mohammed Alobaisi, 37, Reynold Francois, 38, Ihab Hassouna, 44, Mohammad Alteen, 33, Maria Jerdana, 36, Joe Ann Baker, 56, Yousef “Joe” Homedan Zahran, 60, Omar Hajje, 43, Jalal Hajyousef, 42, Andy Javier Herrera, 24, and father Javier Herrera, 49.
The government makes it easier for immigrants to get small business loans with the INVESTOR VISA PROGRAM. Is our government setting itself up for fraud when they knowingly give loans to these people?
NEWS REPORT ON THE BOLD LAWLESSNESS:
Check out the names below and you’ll see that so many times foreigners come to America to scam the food stamp system. We have reported on numerous scams involving immigrants and food stamps. Believe us – they come from all over the world to take your money! Here are just a few examples of foreign-run convenience stores caught in food stamp fraud…millions and millions stolen and probably sent overseas:
OUR PAST REPORTS ON FOOD STAMP FRAUD:
Is this connected to the Investor visa program? It makes you wonder if they have training programs abroad in how to buy convenience stores in the US and rip off the dumb (infidel) Americans!
$20 MILLION LOST IN FOOD STAMP SCAM:
“In this instance, eight small convenience stores in South Florida committed a staggering amount of fraud in a relatively short amount of time,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, special agent in charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of the Inspector General, in a release. “These retailers created an illegal benefits exchange system that defrauded the American taxpayer and denied healthy foods to needy children and their families. The store owners who allegedly orchestrated this trafficking scheme pocketed millions in ‘fees’ which they charged for converting food assistance benefits into cash.”
Some of the defendants owned, worked at or operated stores authorized to accept Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program payments, known as SNAP. Others worked at stores not authorized, but allegedly used the point-of-sale terminals for stores that were authorized.
The fraud happened like this, according to authorities: A store clerk swipes a person’s electronic benefits card at a point-of-sale terminal for a large amount. The person with the card is paid a lesser amount in cash. The remainder is ill-gotten profit for the store owner.
The bust from Operation Stampede/Cash Hungry in Florida involved more than $13 million in fraudulent food-stamp transactions and could be the largest food stamp bust in the nation’s history. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, state and federal law enforcement conducted a joint identity theft investigation involving obtaining SNAP EBT cards with the stolen identities. According to the sheriff’s office, the fraudulently obtained EBT cards were taken to the Opa Locka Flea Market where the SNAP(food stamp or EBT) benefits allocated to them were exchanged for cash. Twenty two people have been charged with crimes.
Saleh managed Four Corners convenience store, 821 NW Sixth St. in Fort Lauderdale, which wasn’t authorized to take SNAP payments. Prosecutors say Saleh and other Four Corners employees used the point-of-sale terminals at Liberty City’s Sparkle, 6530 NW 18th Ave., run by Alobaisi. Prosecutors say that from April 2015 through this past August, Saleh, Alobaisi and employees Francois, Hassouna, Alteen, Jerdana and Baker stole $2 million with the scheme.
Case No. 2 involved Zahran, also known as Youssef Hussein, who worked at Pompano Beach’s Community Food Store, 401 NW 27th Ave. He is being accused of being on the fraud train a relatively short time, Nov. 3, 2016, through Jan. 11.
Hajje and Hajyousef owned Steve Market 2 and Yum-Yum’s grocery, stores across the street from each other at 6804 NW 15th Ave. and 6813 NW 15th Ave. in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. They allegedly fraudulently acquired $4.2 million.
But federal prosecutors give the money title, $10 million, to the Herreras, who also allegedly ran their game longer than everyone else — April 2012 through last month. Andy owned Santa Ana Market II, 1832 NW 17th Ave. in Miami. Father Javier worked there and Santa Ana Market, 3000 NW 12th Ave. Javier has convictions for third-degree grand theft and lottery violations on his rap sheet.
Read more here: Miami Herald