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Press Release

Atlanta Meat Market Owner Sentenced to Federal Prison in $10 Million Food Stamp Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA – Uttam Halder has been sentenced to federal prison for a $10 million scheme to purchase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits from low-income recipients. After his arrest, Halder became a fugitive, fled to Mexico, and attempted to flee to Istanbul, where he was apprehended by foreign authorities with a counterfeit Mexican passport.   

“The federal government trusted Halder to safeguard precious SNAP funds designed to alleviate hunger but he abused that trust to fuel his greed by profiting from a multimillion-dollar scheme to fraudulently redeem SNAP benefits,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Despite Halder’s attempt to flee, the coordinated response from multiple agencies and foreign law enforcement returned him to the United States to face justice for his crimes.”

“Today’s sentence serves not only as just punishment for this defendant but also as a notice to others who seek to prey on defrauding the taxpayer through SNAP,” said Miles Davis, Special Agent-in-Charge, USDA-Office of Inspector General.  “Purchasing those benefits for cash and sharing Point-of-Sale terminals will be vigorously investigated. This collaborative effort with our state and federal partners demonstrates that wherever you are, we will find you and fully hold you accountable for the law.”

“Halder’s attempt to defraud the government and evade prosecution was thwarted due to the diligence of HSI and its law enforcement partners,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Patrone, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “For those contemplating similar crimes, HSI will tirelessly pursue those engaged in fraud schemes that violate the public trust.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Uttam Halder owned and operated a small meat market in Atlanta called Big Daddy’s Discount Meat (“Big Daddy’s”). Halder enrolled Big Daddy’s as a retailer for the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) in 2014. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is designed to alleviate hunger among low-income families by providing benefits on Electronic Benefit Transfer (“EBT”) cards that can be exchanged for eligible food items. USDA regulations state that SNAP benefits may not be purchased or sold in exchange for cash.

Between 2015 and 2020, Halder loaned his EBT terminals to two stores, Food World and Big Brother Mini Supermarket, contrary to SNAP rules. Co-conspirator Paltu Roy, the operator of Big Brother Mini Supermarket, and another co-conspirator who operated Food World, agreed to share profits with Halder from Big Daddy’s terminals used illegally at those stores. After receiving Big Daddy’s EBT terminals, both stores made cash payments to customers in return for redeeming their SNAP benefits at the rate of roughly 50 cents on the dollar. During this six-year period, Big Daddy’s terminals collected more than $10 million in fraudulent redemptions of SNAP benefits, and Halder shared a substantial portion of the profits.

Following his arrest in January 2021, Halder was released on bond. Contrary to his bond conditions, Halder fled and became a fugitive in late 2022. In June 2023, foreign authorities in Turkey located Halder when he attempted to enter Istanbul from Cancun, Mexico with a fake passport. Halder was returned to the United States and placed into custody.

Uttam Halder, 43, of Decatur, Georgia, has been sentenced to 68 months of incarceration, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,340,986. On September 19, 2023, Halder pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of failure to appear.

His co-conspirator, Paltu Roy, 51, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on December 9, 2021. Roy was sentenced on April 20, 2022, to three years and one month in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $3,071,235 in restitution to the USDA.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General and Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan P. Kitchens prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6280.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated March 20, 2024

Financial Fraud