Refugee Resettlement Watch

Imam sentenced in $3.8 million food stamp scam in Ohio

Posted by Ann Corcoran on December 15, 2012

This is an update of a story we posted back in 2011, here and here (guns were involved), about a large food stamp fraud scheme with a local mosque leader at the heart of it.

I’m wondering what’s up with all the food stamp fraud news coming across my desk in recent weeks.  I’m wondering if the feds held up arrests and court decisions until after the election—after all, no need to unnecessarily rile up voters in advance of November 6th on such a touchy issue as food stamp fraud.

Here is the latest on the sentencing of Al-Idu Al-Gaheem, Imam of a Dayton-area mosque.

He could have gotten four years in the slammer, but he judge gave him one year and one day!   $3.8 million is a big haul!

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Al-Idu Al-Gaheem to one year and one day in prison for his role in a scheme that bilked $3.8 million from the federal food stamp program.

Al-Gaheem, the former owner of two Dayton View businesses and the imam of Masjid At-Taqwa mosque*, was the second of four defendants to be sentenced in the case. All four defendants have pleaded guilty.

Al-Gaheem faced as many as four years in prison after he pleaded guilty in August to felony charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, food stamp trafficking and structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements.

Al-Gaheem and co-conspirators knew what they were doing, in the usual 50 cents on the dollar scam:

Al-Gaheem worked and conspired with Abdul Yamini Sr., Abdul Qadir and Omar Yahya to defraud the food-assistance program. The men illegally paid customers 50 cents in cash for every $1 in food stamp benefits they redeemed.

Undercover law enforcement agents caught the defendants illegally trading cash for food stamp benefits and buying and selling products that are ineligible through the program, such as counterfeit clothing and firearms.

Authorities estimate that more than 1,000 transactions took place at Five Pillars Market that involved the illegal exchange of food benefits. The federal government deposited about $3.8 million into bank accounts controlled by Al-Gaheem and others as reimbursement for food benefits redeemed at Five Pillars.

Al-Gaheem repeatedly withdrew large amounts of cash from the bank account, but he always took out sums that were just less than the threshold that requires the filing of federal financial reports.

[....]

Al-Gaheem’s attorney James Fleisher argued that justice would best be served by placing his client on probation or house arrest, because Al-Gaheem is an important part of his community and some family members depend on him for caregiving and financial support.

LOL!  When he gets out he will be ordered to pay the money back that he stole (oops, received through redistribution) from you!

In addition to prison, Black also ordered Al-Gaheem to be placed on three years of community control after his release.

Al-Gaheem and the other co-defendants in the case will be ordered to pay $3.8 million in restitution to the federal government, even though authorities doubt that they can even come close to paying back the money they stole.

* Very very interesting!  Just now checking out Al-Gaheem’s mosque, I learned that Patrick Poole wrote about it here in 2008 because they invited an “Islamic hate sheikh” to Dayton.  Here is how Poole begins his Frontpage article:

Khalid Yasin is one of the most notorious Islamic hate sheikhs in the world today. He had been widely condemned from the US to Britain to Australia for his virulent Wahhabist extremism, his intense anti-Americanism (despite the fact that he is an American-born convert), his justification of Islamic terrorism, his wild-eyed conspiracy theories, and his outright racial and religious bigotry.

How much do you want to bet that some of your food stamp dollars were redistributed to Yasin!

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