[8/31/16] More than a dozen Baltimore-area retailers are accused of misusing food stamps and defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of millions of dollars.
The indictments, announced Tuesday, come roughly three years after nine local retailers were charged in what prosecutors described as a “$7 million scheme” of trading food stamps for cash.
All the defendants in that case were convicted.
“Last year the Dept. of Agriculture Inspector General brought to our attention that many Baltimore-area retailers were continuing to rip-off the food stamp program,” United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein said Tuesday. “With the support of the FBI we launched another large-scale investigation of food stamp fraud.”
The investigation involved data analysis, confidential informants and undercover agents, surveillance and grand jury subpoenas.
As a result of the investigation officials returned nine indictments charging 14 people for defrauding the federal food stamp program, with a total loss of more than $16 million, Rosenstein said.
All 14 defendants were arrested Tuesday morning. Law enforcement officers also executed 26 federal search warrants and seized 46 bank accounts.
“In this case some greedy and corrupt store owners traded EBT credits for cash instead of food,” Rosenstein said. “The store owner for example would give the customer $50 in cash and then would bill the Dept. of Agriculture $100. The store owner pockets the extra $50 and no food changes hands.”
According to the indictments, the defendants below owned and/or Baltimore-area stores that were authorized to accept SNAP and were instructed on the requirements and regulations of the program:
- Walayat Khan, age 36, of Reisterstown, Maryland; and Barbara Ann Duke, age 50, of Owings Mills, Maryland; Maria’s Market Place, 307 S. Broadway in Baltimore; and Royals Food Market, 921 E. Patapsco Avenue in Brooklyn, Maryland. From October 2013 to June 2016, Khan and Duke allegedly obtained more than $1,486,118 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
- Shaheen Tasewar Hussain, age 60, of Ellicott City, Maryland; Shop & Save, 301 Crain Highway South, Suite D, Glen Burnie, Maryland. From July 2014 through October 2015, Hussain allegedly obtained more than $778,183 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
- Kelym Novas Perez, age 34, of Baltimore; and Jose Remedio Gonzalez Reyes, age 50, of Baltimore;
Kelym Grocery, 2734 Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore. From August 2013 through March 2016, Perez and her husband, Gonzalez Reyes, allegedly obtained more than $879,500 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
- Mulazam Hussain, age 54, of Windsor Mill, Maryland; Monroe Food Mart and Y&J Grocery in Baltimore. From March 2013 through July 2016 Hussain allegedly obtained more than $1,242,745 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
- Mohammad Shafiq, age 50, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland; and his daughter, Alia Shaheen, age 24, of Baltimore; Quick Stop Convenience Store, 237 N. Patterson Park Avenue; New York Food Mart, 1201 N. Patterson Park Avenue; and Barclay Food Mart, 2454 Barclay Street, all in Baltimore; and Shafiq Corporation, 6929 Holabird Avenue, in Dundalk, Maryland. From about October 2010 through July 2016, Mohammad Shafiq and his daughter, Alia Shaheen, allegedly obtained more than $3,712,353 in payments for food sales that never occurred or were substantially inflated.
- Mohammad Irfan, age 59; and Muhammad Sarmad, age 40, both of Nottingham, Maryland;
New Sherwood Market, 6324 Sherwood Road in Northwood, Maryland; Martin Mart, 1504 Martin Boulevard in Middle River, Maryland; Rosedale Mart, 6326 Kenwood Avenue in Rosedale, Maryland; and M&A Mart 7400-A Belair Road in Baltimore. From October 2010 through August 2016, Irfan and Sarmad allegedly obtained more than $3,550,662 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
- Mahmood Hussain Shah, age 57, of Catonsville, Maryland; and Muhammad Rafiq, age 58, of Reisterstown; Corner Groceries, 1242 Darley Avenue in Baltimore. From October 2010 through August 2016, Shah and Rafiq allegedly obtained more than $1,610,556 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
- Rizwan Pervez, age 38, of Essex, Maryland; M&N Mini Mart, 1846 W. North Avenue; and Mega Mart1, 1522 Ellamont Street, both in Baltimore. From April 2014 through July 2016, Pervez, allegedly obtained more than $1,689,511 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
- Kassem Mohammad Hafeed, a/k/a Kassam Mohammad Hafeed, age 51, Baltimore;
Yemen Grocery, 1400 W. Lombard Street in Baltimore. From October 28, 2010 through August 3, 2016, Hafeed allegedly obtained more than $1,532,642 in payments for food sales that never occurred….CONTINUE READING