Store Owner Sentenced To Prison
In Cash-For-Food-Stamps Case
WICHITA, KAN. – A Wichita store owner has been sentenced to prison for giving cash in exchange for food stamp benefits, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Monday.
Ahmed Ajami Al-Maleki, 41, Wichita, owner of the Kansas Food Mart, 2600 N. Arkansas, was sentenced to six months in federal prison. He also was ordered to pay $130,000 in restitution.
Al-Maleki was the last of 12 defendants to be sentenced after being convicted in two related food stamp fraud cases. Six of the defendants were sentenced to prison time. Six others were sentenced to terms of supervised release.
Al-Maleki pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of food stamp fraud and one count of wire fraud. Technically, the program he defrauded is called the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) using electronic “Vision” cards, to which individual benefits are automatically allocated each month.
Al-Maleki admitted using his store and SNAP terminal to trade cash for benefits, usually at the rate of about 50 cents on the dollar. The indictment alleged that during a six-month period in 2010, Al-Maleki engaged in about 750 such transactions involving about 100 SNAP recipients and total benefits of about $130,000.
The government alleges that Al-Maleki paid out about half of the $130,000 in cash, and kept the remainder for himself.
In a related case, Sobhi O. Dana was sentenced earlier this week to two years on supervised release and ordered to pay $3,108 in restitution. Dana was indicted in a companion case in which his co-defendants included the owners of Alnoor Groceries and Biryani House, 5220 E. 21st in Wichita. In his plea, Dana admitted that on March 2, 2010, he used his Vision card at Alnoor Groceries. A record of the transaction showed he purchased $352.98 in eligible food items. In fact, no eligible food items were purchased. Instead, the amount was credited against his account at Alnoor, which he used to obtain cigarettes and other items that were not eligible food items.
Grissom commended the USDA, the Wichita Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson for their work on the case.