Three separate cases mind you, all courtesy of the invaluable Refugee Resettlement Watch website.
First up Utah, 12 food stamp fraud arrests linked to 2 Ogden stores
OGDEN — 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, of Ogden.
• Aweas Akbar Al-Quadri, 21, of Ogden.
• Naseer Hamad Durani, 39, of Rocklin, Calif.
• Farad Said Farani, 36, of Ogden.
• Mariana Navarro Farani, 29, of Ogden.
• Seraj Ghasem Pour Babakandi, 23, of West Haven.
• Shershah Lodin, 39, of Pittsburg, Calif.
Those arrested in connection with 9th Street Corner Market include Atta and:
• Masood Aziz, 36, of Elk Grove, Calif.
• Diana Funez, 19, of Ogden.
• Fidel Funez-Limon, 18, of Ogden.
• Sharara Haidari, 30, of Elk Grove, Calif.
• Siavosh Sabri, 41, of Salt Lake City.
The stores are also named as defendants in the indictment.
The defendants face multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; wire fraud; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits Program fraud; access device fraud; conspiracy to commit money laundering; and money laundering.
The defendants from Utah will make their first appearance in federal court today. If convicted, they face prison sentences ranging from five to 20 years on most of the charges and fines of $250,000.
Federal prosecutors are seeking the seizure of homes in Elk Grove, Thornton and Marysville, Calif.; a home and commercial property in Ogden; several bank accounts; and judgments totaling $7.7 million.
A local college student has surrendered to federal authorities to begin serving a six-month prison term related to selling illegal bath salts out of his family’s Reno liquor store and engaging in food stamp fraud at the business.
Nevada U.S. Chief District Court Judge Robert C. Jones sentenced Asowadur Khan, 30, in October. Jones ordered Khan to pay $120,000 in restitution for the money he scammed from the government in the food stamp fraud between 2009 and 2011.
Khan was arrested in February during an undercover investigation by Drug Enforcement Administration investigators at Nahar Food and Discount Liquor, 600 South Virginia St. Khan owned the store with family members.
Khan was booked into the Washoe County jail on Friday and is awaiting transport to federal prison.
Third, in Illinois, Waukegan Grocery Owners Admit Food Stamp Fraud
CHICAGO (CBS) – The owners of a Waukegan grocery store have admitted to stealing nearly $850,000 from the federal food stamp program.
Next up, sentencing for Khaled Saleh and his wife, Fatima, who ran the Sunset Food Market, 1501 Sunset Ave.
On thousands of occasions, the couple illegally provided cash to customers who made fake purchases on their LINK food stamp cards.
The store owners typically split every dollar 50-50 with the customers — and kept the rest as profit, prosecutors said.
The pair ran the scheme between August 2009 and April 2011, prosecutors said.
More details on all these arrests and many more at RRW.
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