Florida: Food stamp fraud still a booming business

Update: Oh, isn’t this a funny coincidence, there was a large food stamp fraud bust in Indianapolis this week too.  Hear about it at WISH-TV. There is a ‘Mohammed’ involved there too!  And, get this, one of those sought by authorities is on the run in Yemen!

I say “still” (in my title) because even though I haven’t written any posts recently about convenience store food stamp fraud, it’s still happening.   I swear someone should be investigating whether there is a training course in the Middle East for guys named ‘Mohammed,’ ‘Khan’ and ‘Islam’ to come to the US and get involved in convenience store rip-offs of the US tax payer.

This is from Boynton Beach, FL (Palm Beach Post News):

BOYNTON BEACH — Five people charged with public assistance fraud met their bond Thursday night and were released, according to Palm Beach County Jail records.

Ainda Khan, Kamal Ahmed, M.D. Abdul Gaffar, Mohammed Hossain and Rafiqul Chowdhury each met their individual bonds ranging from $6,000 to $9,000.

Information was not immediately available as to whether Shuhab Mahari bonded out of jail.

The men were arrested Thursday after undercover officers posed as customers with U.S. government food stamp cards and found fraudulent activity at five convenience stores in the city.

Police arrested Mahari, 48, a clerk at the EZ Mart on North Seacrest Boulevard; Hossain, 32, a clerk at Palm Food & Beverage on East Boynton Beach Boulevard; Gaffar, 52, a clerk at the Kwik Stop on South Federal Highway; Chowdhury, 50, president of First Stop Foods on South Federal Highway; and Ahmed, 27, a clerk at First Stop Foods.

Police said that an undercover transaction also took place at a Stop-N-Go on West Boynton Beach Boulevard, but they did not serve a search warrant at that location.

The investigation showed that store clerks were allowing customers to use Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to buy beer, cigarettes and get cash, a Boynton Beach Police Department release said.

Dubbed Operation: Meal Ticket, the local probe was prompted by information from actual EBT cardholders who told police that they were able to get cash from the cards for a fee.

Check out the photos of the perps and see why I think that ‘operation meal ticket’ is a good name for this bust.

My theory is that the roots of this scam can be found in the E-2 Treaty Investor program.  Those arrested in Boynton Beach are clerks.  Who owns the stores?

I’ve written dozens of posts on ‘food stamp fraud.’  To learn more just search RRW  for that phrase.