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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of North Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fargo Grocery Store Employees Plead Guilty to Defrauding Food Stamp Program

North Dakota's First Grocery Store SNAP Case

FARGO - Acting U. S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced that on June 23, 2015, Lamia Ali, 46, and Abass Hassan Amedi, 50, both from Fargo, ND, pleaded guilty before U. S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud.

From March 2011 through March 1, 2013, Ali and Amedi knowingly engaged in fraudulent transactions and purchases with Food and Nutrition Service Program (a federal government program formerly known as Food Stamp Fraud) recipients in order to obtain the monetary value of their SNAP benefits in exchange for cash in amounts less than the face value of the SNAP benefits.  Ali operated Noor Al Huda, a neighborhood grocery store located in Fargo.   Ali and the co-defendant, Amedi, would allow SNAP recipients to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards in exchange for cash at the grocery store, a practice commonly known as “discounting” or “cash-back.”  As a result of the conspiracy, Ali and Amedi caused a loss of approximately $365,058.10 to the United States Department of Agriculture.  Ali and Amedi could be sentenced up to five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to three years supervised release.

Judge Erickson has set a sentencing hearing for September 14, 2015, in U. S. District Court, Fargo, North Dakota

This case was investigated by United States Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG).

Assistant U. S. Attorney Jennifer Puhl is prosecuting the case.

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Updated June 25, 2015