Friday, December 14, 2012

Muslim food stamp fraud ring busted in Utah

Buy a cheap burrito or some cigarettes with your welfare card, get cold hard cash back

From the Standard-Examiner, "12 food stamp fraud arrests linked to 2 Ogden stores":
A pair of federal indictments unsealed Tuesday allege a dozen people linked to two Ogden convenience stores participated in an elaborate food stamp scam that netted about $8.6 million in USDA benefits.

The stores named in the indictment handed down by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City are Westside Valley Market, 873 W. 24th St., and 9th Street Corner Market, 1390 9th St.

Individuals arrested in connection with Westside Valley Market include:

Zia Atta, 38, Aweas Akbar Al-Quadri, 21, Naseer Hamad Durani, 39, Farad Said Farani, 36, Mariana Navarro Farani, 29, Seraj Ghasem Pour Babakandi, 23, of West Haven, Shershah Lodin, 39.

Those arrested in connection with 9th Street Corner Market include Atta and: Masood Aziz, Diana Funez, Fidel Funez-Limon, 18, Sharara Haidari, 30, Siavosh Sabri, 41.
Continuing:
The two indictments allege on multiple occasions between April 2010 and October 2012, the markets allowed customers to make one or more transactions with a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, electronic benefits card to buy a nominal amount of food or nonfood items, such as cigarettes, and an additional amount up to the card’s limit.

A portion of the transaction over the value of the merchandise purchase would be refunded to the customer in cash and the full value of the transaction would be deposited by electronic funds transfer into the market’s bank account, the indictment alleges... Both markets sell food, snack products, soft drinks, candy, prepared sandwiches and burritos.
Editor's note - Amazingly, not once in the entire 21-paragraph article are the suspects identified as "Muslims," nor is their immigration status mentioned.

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