Refugee Resettlement Watch

Food Stamp fraud cropping up everywhere

Posted by Ann Corcoran on February 6, 2008

As I mentioned in my previous posts on Food Stamp fraud, this doesn’t have anything to do with refugees.  Although refugee food stamp useage is increasing and more than half of all refugees use food stamps, we hope they are all using taxpayers’ funds to feed themselves and their families.    I suspect they may, however, be susceptible to the temptation of turning food stamps into cash via the increasing number of small convenience stores like the one we have in Hagerstown, MD that was recently raided by Federal agents and where local police arrested the owner for suspicion of selling drug parapharnalia.

Thanks to Janet Levy we learned that there has been another Food Stamp scam bust in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Three men connected with Twins Market and Meats in St. Paul have been ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution for fraudulently redeeming food stamps.

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Store owner Anwar Sarama, 32, of Bloomington, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and store manager Soud Salem, 46, of Farmington, was sentenced to 36 months in prison.

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Both men were ordered to pay a total of $757,320.66 in restitution.

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Store employee Amjud Musleh, 28, of Bloomington, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $402,302.91 in restitution.

We followed up and obtained a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in Minnesota and it reported that under the previous owners of the store the average monthly food stamp redemptions ran around $9,000 a month.  Under the new owners sentenced above,  Anwar Sarama, Soud Salem, and Amjud Musleh,  the redemptions gradually increased until they reached $100,000 a month.   That’s a lot of bread and milk!

St. Paul Police Dept. Commander Dave Korus said, “Joint operations such as these work to not only bring people to justice for criminal acts, but also bring peace back to the neighborhood.   This store was a seat for criminal activity….”      

Bottomline,  if you have a convenience store in your neighborhood getting some heavy traffic, keep an eye on it and report anything suspicious to authorities.

We are going to follow-up with this and attempt to learn the immigration status of those sentenced.

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6 Responses to “Food Stamp fraud cropping up everywhere”

  1. Jerry said

    You talk about Food Stamp fraud made by clients of this program. I talk about Food Stamp fraud made by government agency. It is known to everybody who has SSI and Food Stamp benefits that government annually reduce amount of Food Stamp from 01.01….because of COLA increase of SSI benefit from 01.01….
    That action is illegal (fraud)because it is prohibited by 7USC2014(d)(12). This prohibition exists from 1982. How many millions dollars were saved by government for 26 years with near 40 mln. SSI beneficiaries?

  2. [...] our last Food Stamp scam story here.   I spoke with the US Attorney’s office in that Minnesota case and asked the spokesman [...]

  3. [...] by a spokesperson for the Michigan Attorney Generals Office are just too funny to believe.    We have written a few times on Food Stamp fraud always with the disclaimer that as far as we know it doesn’t [...]

  4. James S. Klich II said

    The government needs to stomp out this fraud. I myself had to get food stamps I did not want to but I had no choice. Food Stamps are for people who need them. The government should have a photo ID card used for food stamp. When you use your card a photo should be taken and sent to a state computer to check for fraud. This information could be used to stop fraud. Getting food stamps is not that hard to do but I can see how people would take advantage of the system.This information would be used to prevent fraud only. The information could be destroyed after a few years.

  5. acorcoran said

    Thanks Steve, check it out right here: http://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/another-muslim-food-stamp-scam-busted/

  6. Steve said

    There was a bust in Detroit on Feb 13, 2008. Approximately $1.5M in food stamp fraud is suspected by Muslin Arabs & Shi’ites from Lebanon.

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