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Justice News

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

Friday, October 2, 2020

Market owners who redeemed more than $10M in food stamp, WIC benefits plead guilty to fraud conspiracy

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Hassan and Abdurahim Nuriso, owners of the Somali specialty market Towfiq Market on Sullivant Avenue, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to conspiring to commit food stamp and WIC fraud. The brothers redeemed more than $10 million in SNAP and WIC benefits at their store between 2010 and 2019.


A federal grand jury charged the pair in February 2020.


As part of the conspiracy, brothers Hassan, 40, and Abdurahim Nuriso, 47, converted illegally obtained food stamp benefits, WIC coupons and WIC electronic benefits into money, in order to use the money for other purposes.


The defendants allowed SNAP and WIC beneficiaries to purchase items that were not redeemable through the food stamp or WIC programs.


In total, Hassan and Abdurahim Nuriso redeemed in excess of $8 million of SNAP benefits and nearly $2.1 million in WIC benefits at Towfiq Market between 2010 and November 2019.


As part of their pleas, the Nurisos will forfeit nearly $245,000. Approximately $18,650 in cash was seized during a federal search and seizure warrant at one of the Nuriso brother’s homes in Grove City in November 2018. More than $10,000 was seized during during the execution of a federal search and seizure warrant at Towfiq Market.


David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),Cincinnati Division; and Anthony V. Mohatt, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, announced the pleas entered into today before Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley. Assistant United States Attorney Brenda S. Shoemaker is representing the United States in this case.


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Financial Fraud
Updated October 2, 2020