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Press Release

Two Defendants Charged with Stealing or Misusing $20 Million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Bodega in Bedford-Stuyvesant was Ground Zero for Scheme to Charge SNAP for Illegitimate Purchases and to Steal Benefits from Needy Households

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, an indictment was unsealed charging Dawood Kassim and Dia Alqalisi with trafficking and stealing millions of dollars in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.  To carry out the fraud, the defendants allegedly engaged in thousands of SNAP transactions out of a bodega in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn which Kassim owned.  The defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak.  One defendant charged in the indictment remains at large.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Erin Keegan, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Charmeka Parker, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region (USDA-OIG), announced the charges.

“As alleged, the defendants trafficked and stole a massive amount of SNAP benefits from thousands of victims, illegally profiting from federally funded benefits intended for those in need of nutritious meals—which is especially vital in these times of high food costs,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “The arrests today should be a wakeup call to those who think government programs are a piggy bank they can pillage without fear of consequences.”

“The defendants are accused of robbing the food stamps program of millions of dollars intended to assist the well-meaning public in feeding their families. Through this Brooklyn corner store, they allegedly defrauded unsuspecting food stamp recipients in several states across the country, and to the tune of $20 million," said HSI New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Erin Keegan. "I commend HSI New York’s El Dorado Task Force and our law enforcement partners for their outstanding coordination in ensuring these vital benefits go to those who truly need them.”

According to the indictment and court filings, SNAP is administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and utilizes federal tax dollars to subsidize low-income households, affording such households the opportunity to achieve a more nutritious diet by increasing their food purchasing power.  Individuals who receive SNAP benefits no longer redeem their benefits using paper food stamp coupons but use what is known as an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.  Using EBT cards, recipients can make authorized purchases, and the total amount of the purchase is electronically deducted from the recipient’s card balance.  The same amount of the transaction is electronically transferred to the retailer’s designated bank account, using federal funds that originate from the USDA.

From April 2022 through December 2022, the defendants allegedly conducted fraudulent SNAP transactions out of Throop Farm Market, a bodega located at the corner of Throop and Greene Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant.  First, the defendants engaged in trafficking SNAP benefits by allowing SNAP recipients to exchange SNAP benefits for cash or non-SNAP eligible goods, such as beer, with the defendants keeping a portion of the benefits for themselves as payment.  Second, Kassim stole SNAP benefits from unsuspecting victims by using counterfeit and stolen SNAP EBT cards at Throop Farm Market.  The victims of the defendants’ crimes included recipients of SNAP benefits residing in Tennessee, Virginia and California, among other states. Through these transactions, the defendants received over $20 million dollars in federally funded SNAP benefits, including over $7 million dollars’ worth of SNAP benefits from accounts of recipients living outside of New York.

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  

Assistant United States Attorney Irisa Chen is in charge of the prosecution.  The investigation is being conducted by HSI’s El Dorado Task Force in New York together with the USDA-OIG.

Law enforcement agents have identified numerous recipients of SNAP benefits whose benefits were stolen by the defendants. If any SNAP benefit recipients believe their benefits were stolen and used at Throop Farm Market or other businesses, they should contact the USDA-OIG at or 1-800-424-9121.

The Defendants:

DAWOOD KASSIM (also known as “Badr al din Kassim”)
Age:  31
, New York

DIA ALQALISI (also known as “Diaaldeen Alqalisi”)
Age:  26
, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 24-CR-67 (KAM)


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass
U.S. Attorney's Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated February 27, 2024

Financial Fraud