And, the convenience store owners in the $2.8 million rip-off of US taxpayers appear to be another pair of Middle Easterners.
The difference with this case is that in addition to the store owners/employees arrested, 60 people who SOLD their benefits have warrants out for their arrest in the public-assistance fraud probe called Operation Money Tree. Arresting the sellers is rarely done, but in fact I believe it could be the greatest deterrent to the scam on-going in thousands of immigrant-run small grocery stores across America.
Editor’s note: We cover food stamp fraud here at RRW as a side interest, but you should know that the majority of refugees in the US are on food stamps (and are hopefully using the welfare benefit for FOOD).
From The Palm Beach Post:
A tip from an angry grandmother triggered a two-year food stamp fraud investigation by local and federal authorities that Monday saw warrants issued for 60 people who authorities say cheated the system of $2.8 million.
The three men who ran the mom-and-pop grocery, Fajita’s Meat and Fish at 3921 10th Ave. North where the alleged scam took place were arrested last week and face federal charges, according to court documents. Ali Jaber, Hadi Jaber and Daniel Velazquez have run the grocery since 2006.
Investigators say people who qualified for federal food stamp cards went to the market and rather than buying groceries for their families swiped their cards for cash — an illegal use of the cards.
There is more information on this case at the Sun Sentinel.
If you suspect food stamp fraud in a store near you, go here for information on how to report it.
For further information, our five-plus years of food stamp fraud posts are archived here.