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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Westlake father and son sent to prison for decade-long food stamp fraud

Ordered to repay $931,000

Two Westlake men were sentenced to prison and ordered to repay $931,045 for illegally redeeming food stamps for more than a decade, said Acting U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon.

Mahmoud Zayed, 61, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. His son Ashraf Zayed, 41, was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Both previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, food stamp fraud and unlawful food stamp redemptions.

The Zayeds fraudulently applied for a food stamp vendor license for their convenience store, Al-Manar Market, located on West 117 Street in Cleveland. Mahmoud Zayed had prior state felony convictions related to food stamp fraud, but he and his co-conspirators hid this fact from the U.S. Department of Agriculture by means of a proxy food stamp application submitted by a relative of the Zayeds.  This application claimed that Mahmoud Zayed’s relative was the owner of Al-Manar Market but neglected to state that Mahmoud Zayed would be involved in the operations of the market.  The application also failed to state that Mahmoud Zayed had prior criminal convictions for food stamp trafficking, which would have barred him from future participation in the food stamp and SNAP programs, according to court documents.

The Zayeds improperly trafficked food stamp and SNAP benefits in exchange for ineligible non-food items such as cash, hookah tobacco, pipes and accessories, and calling cards, in violation of the program’s rules and regulations.  This took place between 2001 and 2013, according to court documents.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Om Kakani and Miranda Dugi, following an investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated May 5, 2016