Does that sound about right to you? Three years in jail for $3 million worth of fraud! And, then the OBAMA Justice Department has to throw in a lesson on the phony economics of the redistribution of wealth!
This is one of the largest food stamp rip-offs I’ve reported so far in my extra-curricular hobby of reporting on immigrant fraud schemes. I wonder if maybe we could persuade that Minnesota Humphrey School that is so interested in how much immigrants benefit the economy of Minnesota to track the criminal fraud schemes too?
Note to readers: I started writing this post last night and used this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, but this a.m. most of the text is gone (here is what I had last night from the story):
The former owner of a corner market in St. Paul argued before his sentencing on a massive food stamp fraud that his illegal behavior “was the product of stress and psychological instability” attributed to his ex-wife dying in the collapse of the I-35W bridge in 2007.
Khaffak S. Ansari, 46, of Arden Hills, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in St. Paul to three years and five months in prison for making illegal redemptions for cash and ineligible merchandise at the Stryker Avenue Market.
The government contended that Ansari trafficked more than $3 million in food stamp benefits from January 2006 — well before the bridge collapse — through October 2010.
Ansari argued that the figure was closer to $1.5 million. Sentencing calls for him to pay $2.4 million in restitution. [How much do you want to bet that money is already out of the country!—ed]
According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, the average food stamp redemption for a similarly sized store in Minnesota between 2004 and 2009 was slightly more than $320,000. Over that same period, Stryker’s redemptions were nearly 10 times that. [So, someone was ripping-off the taxpayer as early as 2004—ed]
In presentencing court filings, the government argued for a four-year prison term for Ansari. The defendant sought as little as three years, pointing out that his ex-wife, Julia Blackhawk, was killed in the bridge collapse three months after their divorce.
Stress made him do it!
“The nature and circumstance of the offense . . . was a product of stress and psychological instability after the death of Mr. Ansari’s [former wife] in the Highway 35W bridge collapse,” his attorney argued in a presentencing document.
This morning I see there is a much more interesting article on Ansari at the Chicago Tribune written by reporter David Hanners* of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. And, by the way, I am sure it didn’t escape your notice that Ansari had divorced his wife prior to her death on the bridge and that he had been trafficking and scamming the US taxpayer as early as 2006 (possibly earlier) and she died in 2007.
So Ansari is a refugee from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq!
His father, a doctor! made a plea to the judge to keep his sentence to as few years as possible with this sob story:
Ansari’s father, Dr. Tawfiq Ansari, a physician in North Carolina, wrote Magnuson, asking him to show “leniency and mercy to a man who was not himself for the past five years, and who loves his new adopted country so much.” [Way to show your love of America by ripping us off! Is it justified because we are only infidels?—ed]
He said that his son, a Shi’a Muslim, had been tortured under Saddam Hussein’s Sunni regime in Iraq and that his son’s wounds “were not healed just hidden very deep inside.”
The father told the judge that after his son settled in Minnesota and opened the market, he seemed to be doing better. He married Julia Anne Kreider in September 2005, and the couple had a son.
In June 2006, Ansari filed for divorce. [He filed for divorce!—ed] It was granted in May 2007, and the couple “maintained a civil relationship for the sake of their son,” the father wrote.
But on Aug. 1, 2007, Julia Blackhawk, as she was then known, was one of 13 people killed in the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis.
“That left Khaffak in extreme shock and confusion,” Tawfiq Ansari told the judge. “The death of Julia turned to be a turning point in Khaffak’s life, he drifted into depression and self guilt. He started to have mood swings and an uncaring attitude towards life and his business.”
He said his son told him several times “that Julia’s death was his fault and he had to be punished for it.”
O.K. so let’s punish the guy!
Obama’s Justice Department doesn’t miss an opportunity to promote their economic redistribution theories even in a press release about a fraud case!
LOL! Not a mention in the release about the Muslim refugee sob story though.
Justice Department: Food stamps fuel the economy through trickle-down welfare! Huh? Couldn’t you also say that if the dollars were left in the hands of those who earned them (rather than the government taking them through taxes) that would also fuel the economy and do it more fairly!
From those brilliant economists at the Justice Department:
According to a 2010 USDA report, when properly functioning, SNAP benefits move into
the local economies quickly. This is important for the families that receive the benefits and the communities where the benefits are spent because SNAP has an economic multiplier effect. When SNAP operates as designed, every $5 spent in benefits generates $9 in economic activity. This benefit is supposed to accrue not only to the eligible families but also to the grocery stores where the food was purchased, the distributors who delivered the food, and ultimately the farmers who produced it. According to recent estimates, every $1 of spending on SNAP increases GDP by as much as $1.79 — a significant multiplier effect, and an increase of $1 billion in SNAP spending generates as many as 17,900 total full-time jobs. [1, 7 and 9 must be the favorite numbers of the ‘economists’—ed]
* Way to go Mr. Hanners! Thanks for your more extensive reporting! This is an example of the massive food stamp fraud going on in these ‘mom & pop’ stores across America—it is a huge story in need of some real investigative reporting!