Is south Florida becoming a Middle Eastern cesspool replete with Hamas terrorists? Sure seems that way. via Palm Beach County brothers get 6 years for running food stamp… | www.palmbeachpost.com. h/t Refugee Resettlement Watch
WEST PALM BEACH — Two Palm Beach County brothers who funneled millions in federal food stamp money back to their native Lebanon were sentenced to nearly six years in prison Thursday for scamming the program that is intended to feed the poor.
With engineering degrees from top universities, Ali Jaber, 52, and his 42-year-old brother, Hadi, could have become role models for fellow immigrants, prosecutor Carolyn Bell told U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks. Instead, they used their store, Fajita’s Meat & Fish on 10th Avenue North, to defraud the federal government.
Even their attorneys acknowledged that the two should have known better than to get involved in the scam. Instead of charging customers’ debit-style food stamp cards for groceries, the brothers gave the customers cash. They charged customers as much as 50 percent commission for the service and were reimbursed by the government for the bogus transactions.
“He should have known better at his age and with his education,” said attorney Fred Haddad, who represents Ali Jaber, who has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
But Haddad and attorney Lawrence Hashish, who represents Hadi Jaber, argued that the scam wasn’t as lucrative as prosecutors claimed. Middlebrooks pointed out that as part of a plea deal, their clients admitted they had defrauded the federal food stamp program of $4 million even though prosecutors said it may have been as much as $6 million.
But, the attorneys insisted, not all of the food stamp transactions at the meat market were fraudulent. The brothers processed $1,000 to $2,000 worth of legitimate food stamp payments every day, Hashish said.
Bell countered that when federal agents took an inventory of the store they loaded up shopping carts full of expired food. That, she said, raised doubts about Hashish’s claims of legitimacy.
While the brothers, who are U.S. citizens, agreed to repay the money, there is little evidence they have the wherewithal to do so. Ali Jaber declared bankruptcy. A house Hadi Jaber purchased in Greenacres will be sold and the proceeds will go to the federal government. It is worth about $220,000, according to property records.
Most of the money was sent to banks in Beirut, Lebanon, where the Jabers have relatives, according to court documents. That money, government officials say, is impossible to retrieve.
An employee, Daniel Velazquez, pleaded guilty to theft of government property, and was sentenced to five months in jail. Food stamp recipients, who benefited from the operation, were prosecuted in state court.
Food stamps are a multi-billion dollar racket for Muslims in the U.S.
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