Add New York to our list of locations where Food Stamp fraud is occuring. There is a common thread in all these cases and I’ll give you a hint, check out the names of some of those arrested in the last line of this excerpt. You might first read this earlier post on the topic.
Welfare recipients have been trading food stamps for cash, accepting about 70 cents on the dollar from several Westchester merchants who have been profiting from the illegal practice, police said yesterday.
Undercover Westchester County police this week busted shopkeepers from three delis in Yonkers and Mount Vernon, after a six-month investigation into misuse of the county’s food-stamp debit-card system.
“The debit cards are only supposed to be used to purchase food items,” said county police spokesman Kieran O’Leary. “These workers swiped the cards and gave the undercover officers cash out of the register. The people accused in this investigation on average offered them 60 to 70 cents on the dollar in exchange for providing them with cash.”
The illegal transactions were carried out at two Yonkers businesses – Raffi Boys Deli at 62 Yonkers Ave. and Lydia’s Deli at 52 Yonkers Ave. – and Hilltop Deli at 271 S. Fourth Ave. in Mount Vernon, O’Leary said.
Rafael Fana of Queens, 56, the owner of Raffi Boys; Lydia’s owner Lydia Rivera, 39, and clerk Carlos Rodriguez, 66, both of Yonkers; and Hilltop owner Fadhle Algahim, 34, and clerk Mohamad Ali Algohim, 46, both of Mount Vernon, were all charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, and misuse of food stamps, a misdemeanor.
If you still didn’t get it, the common thread is that there is always an immigrant from a certain region of the world in the list of alleged perpetrators. What do they have some business strategy meetings before they come to the US—get rich in America quick by opening a convenience store and ripping off the US taxpayer?
I’m going to bet also that the initial investment in the business is coming from Arab-world financers.
See all of our earlier posts on Food Stamp fraud here.