Five Charged With $1.2 Million Worth Of Food Stamp Frauds At Three Stores In Yonkers
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William G. Squires Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General (“USDA-OIG”), and Charles Gardner, Commissioner of the City of Yonkers Police Department, announced the unsealing of three Complaints yesterday charging five individuals with participating in three separate conspiracies to exchange food stamps for cash at three stores in Yonkers, New York, in violation of the terms of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”).
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Defrauding the SNAP program is tantamount to taking food from needy children and adults, all of whom need help to get adequate nutrition. As alleged, food stamps were being redeemed for a portion of their cash value. The scheme is cynical and illegal and those who practice it will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
USDA Office of Inspector General, Special Agent-in-Charge William G. Squires Jr. stated: “SNAP was created to provide food and nutrition to those who truly need this assistance. Those who are involved in fraud and abuse of SNAP and other USDA programs will be aggressively pursued by our office. Our joint investigation with the Yonkers Police Department has brought to justice several individuals who sought to profit from the SNAP program through illegal schemes. The USDA Office of Inspector General will continue to dedicate resources and work with our state and local law enforcement partners in order to protect the integrity of these programs and to prosecute those who commit fraud.”
Yonkers Police Department Commissioner Charles Gardner stated: “I would like to thank the members of our Street Crime Unit for their extraordinary investigative efforts in this case. It is yet another example of a successful collaboration between the Yonkers Police Department and our federal partners. This should be a warning to other business owners here in Yonkers that SNAP benefits should be processed as intended or you will be subjected to serious criminal charges.”
According to allegations in the Complaints unsealed in White Plains federal court:
AHMED ALSAMET, 35, the owner of SAM DELI GROCERY STORE in Yonkers, and SHOIAB AHMED, 22, an employee of SAM DELI GROCERY STORE, are charged with conspiring to exchange over $250,000.00 in food stamp benefits for cash. YOUSIF KASSIM, 30, the owner of 42 POST DELI GROCERY in Yonkers, and MUFID KASSEM, 36, an employee of 42 POST DELI GROCERY, are charged with conspiring to exchange over $200,000.00 in food stamp benefits for cash. GLORIA GARCIA, 51, is charged with conspiring to exchange over $800,000.00 in food stamp benefits for cash at a store in Yonkers.
Four of the defendants charged in the Complaints were arrested and presented in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison. MUFID KASSEM remains at large.
Each defendant, upon conviction, faces a maximum penalty of 5 years’ imprisonment.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the USDA-OIG and the City of Yonkers Police Department.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gerber is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.