Refugee Resettlement Watch

Big fish, another Muhammed, arrested in NJ for $5 million food stamp fraud!

Posted by Ann Corcoran on May 9, 2013

Update May 15th:  I see ICE was involved in this investigation, that means there was some immigration violation involved too because normally ICE isn’t in on these busts.

Wow!  This is a huge catch, maybe the biggest I’ve seen!  Arrested is Muhammed Farooq and, of course, no mention in this news account about his nationality or immigration status.

Muhammed busted in NJ!
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office

New readers, following food stamp fraud is a side hobby of mine (until some enterprising blogger wannabe takes on exposing food stamp fraud as their primary mission!).

From the Star-Ledger:

The owner of four dollar stores in Essex and Union counties has been charged with money laundering and other crimes after investigators determined more than $5 million in fraudulent food stamp transactions took place at his stores, authorities said today.

Muhammed Farooq, 49, of Somerset, was charged with money laundering, theft by deception and food stamp fraud when he was arrested today, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said.

Farooq was arrested at around 9 a.m. as police executed search warrants at his four stores and his home, completing an eight-month investigation by the prosecutor’s office, the federal Division of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General, Murray said.

“The Food Stamp program is designed to help people in need,” said Essex County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, director of the county’s financial crimes unit. Any allegation of an abuse of the program will be investigated by this office.”

According to Murray, Farooq was allowing patrons to buy non-food items, such as electronics, with food stamps. He owns two stores in Newark, and one each in East Orange and Elizabeth, Murray said.

The purchases totaled roughly $5.2 million and went on for nearly 2 1/2 years, Murray said.

A search of Farooq’s Somerset home turned up $150,000 in cash, six computers, electronic food stamp machines and detailed business records, Dirkin said.

How did he get here—is he on an investor visa?  Did he send money out of the country?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Did you even know you could use food stamps in Dollar Stores?

For dozens more stories like this one from across the Nation, type ‘food stamp fraud’ into our search function.

Somewhat related:  Food stamp use by refugees jumped dramatically with the arrival of the Obama Administration, here.  The more people on food stamps, the richer the scammers become!

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