Natrona Convenience Store Owner Charged with Food Stamp Fraud
PITTSBURGH - An individual residing in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of conspiracy, food stamp fraud, theft of government funds and money laundering, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The 12-count indictment named Waqar A. Malik, 56, of Cheswick, Pa., as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, Malik, the owner of the Natrona Mart in Natrona, Pa., allowed federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamp beneficiaries to purchase non-eligible items such as cigarettes, tobacco products and soap with their EBT benefit card. Because of these transactions, Malik received funds from the United States government to which he was not entitled.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 125 years in prison, a fine of $23,250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.