Refugee Resettlement Watch

Update on those Somali brothers who ran Michigan food stamp scam

Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 25, 2010

I first told you about this story in August, here

What interests me about the news about their guilty plea a week ago is that this food stamp scam story went beyond local news outlets.   I’ve been following these cases for several years and they rarely go beyond local newspapers or local TV stations.  This story is at Business Week and I’ve seen it elsewhere as well.

Two brothers from Somalia who were accused of $400,000 in food stamp fraud and of illegally transferring money overseas from their western Michigan store pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges, prosecutors said.

Mohamed and Omar Sufi, owners of the Halal Depot store in Grand Rapids, redeemed electronic food stamps for cash and nonfood items, taking 30 percent commissions, the government said. The men were accused of taking up to 50 percent from benefits under the Women, Infants and Children programs.

Prosecutors said the brothers wired thousands of dollars through an unlicensed money transfer business known as a “hawala.” The money went to the Middle East and Africa, and the men charged a commission of 6 percent to 7 percent, prosecutors said.

The brothers deliberately kept transactions below $10,000 so that financial institutions would not file currency transactions reports to the Internal Revenue Service, the men admitted in their plea agreement.

When those Somali ‘voters’ in Columbus, Ohio whined about not being able to easily send money to Somalia, they have only their fellow Somalis to blame for restrictions.  However, I don’t know why they are complaining.  This case demonstrates it’s pretty easy for Somalis to wire money—-your tax dollars—to the rest of the world.

For new readers: We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees to the US.   To check out the numbers visit this post, probably our most widely read post over the last few years.   In FY2010 which ended September 30th the US State Department resettled 4,884 Somalis (here) to towns near you.

Also, after being closed for nearly two years, the US State Department is on the verge of resuming the fraud-ridden family reunification program that admitted as many as 36,000 Somalis fraudulently to the US between 2003 and 2008.  See the latest on new regulations, here.

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4 Responses to “Update on those Somali brothers who ran Michigan food stamp scam”

  1. [...] thought Obama was too slow in redistributing the wealth.  This is an update on a story I posted here in [...]

  2. Tony_Lee said

    regarding the regulation opening up “family reunification” for refugees, readers are invited to comment at the federal register website or simply by sending an e-mail to SpruellDA@state.gov (Subject line must read: DS-7656 AOR).
    a week or so remains to comment.

    this regulation will open a mini floodgate of fraudsters. Commentors may ask :

    1. why aren’t refugees who petition for relatives via the I-730 program being tested?

    2. why aren’t refugees who petition for relatives via non-refugee programs being tested?

    3. Why must the taxpayer pay instead of the so-called “sponsors”?

    4. why is the original family unit not being tested for relationship?

    federal reg is here:
    http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2010/09/08/2010-22354/60day-notice-of-proposed-information-collection-ds7656-affidavit-of-relationship-aor-omb-control#p-17

    • acorcoran said

      Tony, thanks for this important information. I will post it shortly as a comment worth noting, so maybe we can get the word out more widely.!

      • Nellie said

        That is a perfect solution! Everyone that is related should be deported as you know they are all in this fraud situation.
        Our government is too soft on immigration and if they can’t find the illegals from Mexico how do they keep track of the people they are bringing in from Somali? does our government even know if they are terrors? We have a situaton that needs chopped! no more immigrants until our country is stable. No more money too countries that “the money isn’t used for the poor people” or is the moneyh used too build the government and guns too kill our MIlitary. Obama wants too give more money too foreign countries, money we don’t have and have too borrow from China!There is a lot of fraud in Welfare!

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