U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
September 13, 2012
Convenience Store Owner Sentenced in Food Stamp Fraud Case
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Syed T. Shah, 44, of Lincoln, R.I., the former franchisee and owner of a Providence convenience store, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to five years probation, by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. Shah was ordered to serve the first six months in home confinement and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $648,000. At the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Hebert recommended a sentence of 27 months incarceration.
Shah’s sentence was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; William G. Squires, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
At his change of plea hearing on May 16, 2012, Shah admitted to the court that beginning in as early as July 2008, and continuing until December 20, 2010, he allowed recipients of SNAP (food stamp) benefits to redeem their benefits for cash and ineligible items at his Providence convenience store. In return, he charged to their SNAP electronic benefits card a surcharge equal to the amount of cash that was given to the recipient.
Shah admitted that he defrauded the food stamp program of approximately $648,000.Shah admitted to the court that the food stamp funds he fraudulently obtained were used to pay for his own personal expenses, including the cash purchase of a 2010 Mercedes S550V4 for $76,652.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Hebert. The matter was investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.