Manchester Convenience Store Owner, Worker, Charged with Defrauding Federal Food Stamp Program
Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford has returned an indictment charging JAVED SAEED, 52, and DASTGIR SAEED, 68, both of South Windsor, with food stamp fraud offenses.
The indictment was returned on September 14, 2021, and the defendants were arrested on September 29. They are released on bonds pending trial.
The federal Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (“SNAP”) is administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and utilizes federal tax dollars to subsidize low-income households to provide them with the opportunity to achieve a more nutritious diet by increasing their food-purchasing power. SNAP recipients purchase eligible food items at retail food stores through the use of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, and SNAP benefits may be accepted by authorized retailers only in exchange for eligible items. Items such as alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, paper goods and soaps are not eligible for purchase with Food Stamp benefits, and it is a violation of the rules and regulations governing the food stamp program to allow benefits to be used to purchase ineligible items. SNAP benefits may not lawfully be exchanged for cash under any circumstances. The program is designed so that the total amount of each purchase is electronically transferred to the retailer’s designated bank account.
As alleged in the indictment, Javed Saeed is the owner of Manchester Quick Mart, a convenience store and Mobil gas station located at 262 Oakland Street in Manchester, and Dastgir Saeed helped operate the store. Between November 2016 and January 2020, Javeed Saeed, Dastgir Saeed and others illegally allowed customers to redeem their food stamp benefits for cash and other ineligible items, including gasoline and male enhancement pills, and charged the customers’ food stamp cards a premium of nearly 50 percent for these transactions.
The indictment charges Javed and Dastgir Saeed with one count of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, and one count of food stamp fraud. Each charge carries maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anastasia E. King.