Brothers Sentenced For Food Stamp Fraud Scheme
Two brothers, one a resident of Carnegie, Pa., and the other a resident of Greentree, Pa., have each been sentenced in federal court to two years’ probation with six months of home detention on their convictions of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today. The defendants were also ordered to pay restitution of $199,605.38 pursuant to related Civil Settlement Agreements entered into by the defendants and the United States.
Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill imposed the sentences on Wesam Ibrahim, 41, of Carnegie, Pa., and Hadi Ibrahim, 43, of Greentree, Pa.
According to information presented to the court, the Ibrahim brothers co-own and operate City News & Arcade, a convenience store located on Wood Street in Pittsburgh, Pa. City News participated in the United States Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as the food stamp program. Food stamp recipients could purchase eligible food items using food stamp benefit cards at City News. As owners and operators of City News, the defendants were aware that food stamp program rules prohibited the exchange of food stamp benefits for cash and/or ineligible items. Despite this knowledge, on multiple occasions, the defendants exchanged customers’ food stamp benefits for cash on a discounted basis, usually giving customers only .50 cents on the dollar for food stamp benefits. The defendants also permitted food stamp customers to purchase ineligible non-food items, such as cigarettes, with food stamp benefits.
Judge Cohill stated that the sentences imposed were sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve the ends of justice.
Assistant United States Attorney Tonya Sulia Goodman prosecuted these cases on behalf of the government. Assistant United States Attorney Colin Callahan litigated these cases on behalf of the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Section of the United States Attorney's Office.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Office of the Inspector General for the United States Department of Agriculture along with Homeland Security Investigations for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of the Ibrahim brothers.