O’FALLON MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD OFFENSES
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on January 7, 2011, the court unsealed documents pertaining to RAMI MOHAMMAD’s December 9, 2010 plea to Wire Fraud and Food Stamp Fraud. Food Stamp Fraud carries a penalty of up to 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. Wire Fraud carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. MOHAMMAD, age 32, a citizen of Jordan who resides in O’Fallon, Illinois, was informed by the court prior to his change of plea that he likely faces deportation upon completion of his sentence.
MOHAMMAD admitted that as manager of a convenience store in Washington Park, he accepted and redeemed food stamp benefits in exchange for lesser amounts of cash instead of eligible food items, which is prohibited by the federal regulations governing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and that he caused interstate wire transmissions in these transactions. The amount of loss to the program attributed to MOHAMMAD will be determined by the court at the sentencing hearing, which is currently scheduled for March 25, 2011.
The guilty plea follows an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin Burke and Liam Coonan for prosecution.