DAYTON — A federal grand jury indicted two men on food stamp fraud and other felony charges in connection to alleged illegal trafficking activities at several Dayton businesses that resulted in police raiding those stores in May.
The indictments — unsealed last week by the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio — show charges were filed against Mohammed Zaid, who owns A&M Meats at 1609 Gilsey Ave., and Mohammed Qaqa, an employee at Food City, 1829 Germantown St.
Food City, A&M Meats and two Dayton View businesses Five Pillars Market and Cup of Dreams — were raided two months ago by local, state and federal authorities following a 19-month undercover investigation.
Some employees and management at the four businesses allegedly bought and sold Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, or food stamp cards, while a few also sold guns and illegal drugs to confidential police informants, according to affidavits in support of search warrants unsealed after the raids.
Al-Idu Al-Gaheem, the owner of Cup of Dreams and Five Pillars Market and a local imam, allegedly received more than $2.5 million in food stamp reimbursements from the federal government, between $890,000 and nearly $2 million of which was from “unexplained” food stamp charges, according to an IRS agent’s affidavit in support of seizing Al-Gaheem’s bank account.
Between May 2010 and May of this year, Zaid is accused of purchasing 13 food stamp cards containing about $5,970 worth of food benefits from a confidential police informant, according to the indictment. Zaid allegedly paid for the cards with $2,479 in cash and a 9 mm pistol.
Zaid faces 12 counts of unauthorized use, transfer, acquisition, alteration or possession of benefits and five counts of wire fraud, according to court documents.
During a 13-month period, Qaqa, 29, is accused of selling 11 handguns to a confidential police informant while he worked at Food City. Qaqa allegedly sold the guns in exchange for $1,220 in cash and $390 worth of food stamps, according to the indictment.
Qaqa is also accused of buying seven food stamp cards, worth about $3,160, in exchange for $1,265 and three pistols. He faces 11 counts of dealing in firearms without a license, seven counts of unauthorized use or possession of benefits and two counts of wire fraud.