Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty to Food Stamp Fraud
BUFFALO, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Tofeek Albanna, 36, Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, to food stamp fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Moscati, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant conducted illegal electronic food stamp transactions at his store, LA Fashion, in Lackawanna, N.Y. Albanna exchanged food stamp benefits for cash. The defendant also permitted the purchase of prohibited items in exchange for food stamp benefits. Over the course of a 16 month period, Albanna obtained approximately $73,400 in fraudulent food stamp benefits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The plea was the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General; Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero; and the New York State Police, Special Investigations Unit, under the direction of Lieutenant Joseph Scioli.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 19, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.