Editors Note: I’ve cross-posted this from our other blog—Refugee Resettlement Watch—where I’ve been doing most of my blogging in recent months. I don’t know how many of our Maryland readers of PTPR see RRW as well, but didn’t want you to miss this story so close to home. As I say below I’ve been following food stamp fraud of this sort since 2007 and as far as I’ve seen no major media ever makes the connection—most of the cases involve stores managed and owned by immigrants and a large number of those are from the Middle East.
This one is getting closer to home for me! I was first introduced to the subject of immigrant-run food stamp fraud in 2007 when a Pakistani named Mohammad Khan got busted in my county seat (Hagerstown, MD in Washington County) and have been following the taxpayer-scamming trend ever since. By the way, Khan incorporated his Hagerstown store in a seedy section of Baltimore.
You gotta hand it to Obama, these busts seem to be coming with more frequency than they did in the Bush days.
For readers wondering how this relates to refugees, it doesn’t directly or at least it doesn’t as far as we know because they never report the immigration status of the perps, but this type of fraud interests me and no one else is writing a blog on it, so I do as often as I can.
Here is our entire archive with probably a hundred similar stories on food stamp trafficking at immigrant managed and owned convenience stores.
Here is the story at WBAL:
A federal grand jury indicted nine retail store owners in Baltimore City and Baltimore County for ‘food stamp trafficking.’
Court papers said the retailers redeemed the food stamps for cash and split the money with food stamp recipients. The amounts totaled about $7 million. According to investigators, the retailers did not provide any food.
Those indicted are:
Abdullah Aljaradi, age 51, of Baltimore; Second Obama Express and D&M Deli and Grocery, 901 Harlem Avenue, Suite A and B, respectively. From October 2010 through July 2013, Aljaradi allegedly obtained more than $2 million in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Dae Cho, age 66; and Hyung Cho, age 40, both of Catonsville;
K&S Food Market, 3910 W. Belvedere Avenue. From November 2010 through July 2013, Dae Cho and her son, Hyung Cho, allegedly obtained more than $1.4 million in in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Abdo Mohamed Nagi, age 54, of Baltimore; New York Deli and Grocery 1207 West Baltimore Street. From February 2011 through May 2013, Nagi allegedly obtained more than $1.2 million in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Kim Man Chu, age 38, of Rosedale, Maryland; Long Hing Grocery Store, 1131 Greenmount Avenue. From October 2010 through July 2013, Chu allegedly obtained more than $750,000 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Amara Cisse, age 50, and Fanta Keita, age 45, both of Windsor Mill, Maryland; Simbo Food Mart, 2103 West Pratt Street. From November 2010 through May 2013, Cisse, and his wife Keita, allegedly obtained more than $600,000 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Jung Kim, age 51, of Ellicott City, Maryland; C&C Market, 4752 Park Heights Avenue. From November 2010 through April 2013, Kim allegedly obtained more than $600,000 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
John Cunningham [wow! an American name, but I see he didn’t make the million dollar club!—-ed], age 54, of Baltimore; Cunningham’s Amoco, 4419 Park Heights Avenue. From December 2012 through July 2013, Cunningham allegedly obtained more than $348,000 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
If convicted, those indicted face a maximum of 20 years in prison.
That last line is ridiculous, they will all get less than 2 years! Khan was out in maybe 18 months, back in his convenience store and paying restitution to the US Dept. of Agriculture. We have even seen cases where former crooks come out and set the scam up all over again with a store in Mom’s name! They should just be deported!
See something, say something! Here is a link with information on how to report food stamp fraud. One tip-off to the trafficking scheme is a store where people are going in and out all day, but the store shelves are pretty bare. No one is carrying many bags when they come out. And, you might notice the owner arriving and departing in a Mercedes (this last is a joke, maybe!).
I had one story that still makes me laugh: when the law was moving in on an owner and his family, Mrs. Mohammed was dashing out the backdoor with a suitcase of cash and dragging her mom with her! Actually her name was Fatima Salah and her suitcase had $350,000 cash in it.
Addendum: I just noticed that lots of readers are visiting this old post about Maryland ranking second in the nation in food stamp fraud (in 2011).