Ann Corcoran spends an incredible amount of time tracking refugee resettlement. She’s been all over the Syrian Refugee debacle, and her work is tireless. On her website today was an interesting article. In and around Baltimore, Maryland, more than a dozen retail store operators have been caught and charged with a huge food stamp and wire fraud scheme.
Combined, the retailers allegedly received more than $16 million in federal payments for transactions in which they did not provide any food and illegally exchanged EBT benefits for cash, instead.
The Department of Justice says that in order for these people to avoid detection, they debited the funds from the card in multiple transactions over a period of hours or days, or called a different store where the transaction was processed manually.
These operators allegedly obtained more than $16,482,270 in EBT deposits for transactions in which food sales never occurred or were substantially inflated and split the proceeds with food stamp recipients.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud; a maximum of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and wire fraud; and a maximum of five years in prison for food stamp fraud.
In her article, Ann points out there is a trend when looking at the names. Can you see the trend?
The list below from CBS Baltimore shows the defendants, their alleged actions, and how much money they scammed the system:
Shaheen Tasewar Hussain, 60, of Ellicott City
From July 2014 through October 2015, Hussain allegedly obtained more than $778,183 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Mulazam Hussain, 54, of Windsor Mill
From March 2013 through July 2016 Hussain allegedly obtained more than $1,242,745 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Mahmood Hussain Shah, 57, of Catonsville and Muhammad Rafiq, 58, of Reisterstown
From October 2010 through August 2016, Shah and Rafiq allegedly obtained more than $1,610,556 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Mohammad Shafiq, 50, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland; and his daughter Alia Shaheen, 24, of Baltimore
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, 59, of Nottingham and Muhammad Sarmad, 40, of Nottingham
From October 2010 through August 2016, Irfan and Sarmad allegedly obtained more than $3,550,662 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Kassem Mohammad Hafeed, a/k/a Kassam Mohammad Hafeed, 51, of Baltimore
From November 2010 through April 2013, Hafeed allegedly obtained more than $1,532,642 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Walayat Khan, 36, of Reisterstown and Barbara Ann Duke, 50, of Owings Mills
From October 2013 to June 2016, Khan and Duke allegedly obtained more than $1,486,118 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Rizwan Pervez, 38, of Essex
From April 2014 through July 2016, Pervez, allegedly obtained more than $1,689,511 in payments for food sales that never occurred.
Kelym Novas Perez, 34, of Baltimore and Jose Remedio Gonzalez Reyes, 50, of 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.
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