States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|March 11, 2010||
NEW HAVEN STORE OWNER WHO DEFRAUDED FEDERAL FOOD STAMP PROGRAM OF MORE THAN $328,000 IS SENTENCED
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MANILAL JOITARAM PATEL, 57, of Hamden, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to five years of probation, the first 12 months of which he must in home confinement with electronic monitoring, for defrauding the Federal Food Stamp Program. PATEL also was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $25,000. He pleaded guilty to offense on October 27, 2009.
According to court documents and statements made in court, PATEL owned and operated Sadavi Mini Mart, located at 34-C Cinque Green in New Haven. In October 2005, Sadavi Mini Mart began to participate in the Federal Food Stamp Program (“FSP”), which is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. Most edible items, or “staple foods,” are eligible for purchase with FSP benefits. Items such as beer, cigarettes, paper goods, and soaps are not eligible for purchase with food stamp benefits, and it is a violation of the rules and regulations governing the FSP to allow FSP benefits to be used to purchase ineligible items. FSP benefits may not lawfully be exchanged for cash under any circumstances.
Beginning in December 2007, an individual working with USDA investigators visited Sadavi Mini Mart on seven separate occasions and exchanged food stamp benefits valued at approximately $1355 in exchange for approximately $708 in cash, and a combination of eligible and ineligible items including cigarettes and a prepaid telephone card.
Between June 2007 and May 2008, PATEL and Sadavi Mini Mart defrauded the Federal Food Stamp Program of $328,525.19 by accepting FSP benefits in exchange for cash or ineligible items.
Today, Judge Covello ordered PATEL to pay full restitution to the Government. To date, PATEL has paid restitution in the approximate amount of $120,000.
This case was investigated by the Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah P. Karwan.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods