Mt. Oliver Grocer Gets Probation with Home Detention for Defrauding Food Stamp Program
PITTSBURGH - A grocery store owner has been sentenced in federal court to three years probation and six months home detention on his convictions of wire fraud and food stamp fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Senior United States District Judge Gustave Diamond imposed the sentence on Emile Bizimungu, 32, of Pittsburgh.
According to information presented to the court, Bizimungu was the owner of Dollar Grocery, a retail food store formerly located on Brownsville Road in Mt. Oliver Borough. Defendant's retail store participated in the United States Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as the Food Stamp Program. Food stamp recipients could purchase eligible food items using food stamp benefit cards at the defendant's retail store. The defendant was aware that program rules strictly prohibited the exchange of food stamp benefits for cash and/or ineligible items. Despite this knowledge, on multiple occasions, Bizimungu exchanged food stamp benefits for cash on a discounted basis, usually giving the customers only 50 cents on the dollar for their food stamp benefits. The defendant also permitted food stamp customers to purchase ineligible items with food stamp benefits and accepted food stamp benefits as payment on credit accounts and loans.
Judge Diamond also ordered Bizimungu to pay $24,000 in restitution to the USDA.
Assistant United States Attorney Tonya Sulia Goodman prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Office of the Inspector General for the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Bizimungu.