Somali brothers rip off US taxpayers in another food stamp scam

I meant to post this awhile back but haven’t had time.  Earlier in the month Somali brothers in Michigan were indicted in yet another food stamp scam and this time were also charged with sending your tax dollars (meant to feed poor Americans) back to Africa.  I’m guessing they aren’t feeding the Somali poor but feeding the terrorists!

The feds apprehended Mohamed, but Omar escaped to Africa.

From the Grand Rapids Press:

GRAND RAPIDS — For federal officials, the sales figures at Halal Express didn’t add up.

But receipts from the Somali food and clothing store, once located at 650 28th St. SW in Wyoming, showing $126,350 in gross sales in 2006 and $141,329 of food stamps redeemed, did equal federal criminal charges against owners and brothers, Mohamed and Omar Sufi.

The government alleges the Sufis conspired to commit food stamp fraud, operate an unlicensed money transmitting business that sent money to African and Middle Eastern countries, and structured financial transactions to evade federal reporting requirements.

Indictments filed Thursday against the brothers lay out a three-year trail of deceit that ultimately led to Mohamed Sufi’s arrest this week, about two months after Omar Sufi fled to Africa.

Authorities allege the men swiped $381,467 through illegal transactions involving the Department of Agriculture’s food stamp program, court records show.

I’ve written dozens of posts on Food Stamp Scams ever since I wrote the first one in December 2007 where another Mohammad’s store was raided in my county seat.   Search RRW for ‘food stamp scams’ or ‘food stamp fraud’ for more information.  If I had known it would be such a common story—immigrant food stamp fraud—I would have made an entire category for it.

For new readers: We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees to the US.   To check out the numbers  visit this post, probably our most widely read post over the last few years.

Bosnian refugee who lied to get into US will likely be deported

But, he was not given any prison time.  From AP:

PORTLAND, Ore. — The father of a former Miss Oregon who lied about his army service during the Bosnian civil war when he applied for asylum in the United States has been sentenced to one year of probation.

Milenko Krstic, 53, of Beaverton, who pleaded guilty nearly two months ago, received the most lenient federal sentence for a felony crime on Friday. Immigration officials, however, will likely seek to deport him and possibly his wife and two daughters.

Krstic, who had more than 100 supporters at the hearing, acknowledged failing to disclose he had lived for five years in Zvornik, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he was a member of a Serb army brigade that reportedly took part in the slaughter of unarmed Muslim prisoners.

No evidence was ever uncovered that Krstic, who served as a clerk, took part in the massacre, and he was not charged with war crimes.

There is more, read on.

He joins the Rwandans who have recently been exposed for lying on their refugee applications, here.

Start your own blog!

This is a message to all those whose comments we aren’t posting—from one end of the spectrum to the other. (Readers if you saw the comments and know us, you would have to laugh!)   Please write your own blog!  You can call it Refugee Resettlement Watch Watch if you want and vent all you wish, but we have no obligation to post any further personal attacks on us, why should we?   If you have legitimate policy arguments with us and can articulate those well, please comment, otherwise do the hard work of starting your own blog where you can express your opinions to your hearts content and we will continue expressing ours here.

Obama State Department: No Iraqi refugee airlift anticipated

We told you way back in January of 2009  that the “progressives” at John Podesta’s Center for American Progress (George Soros) began pushing the Obama team to commit to airlifting Iraqis to the US in the tens of thousands before they had even taken office.

Now, as the US draw down has begun, Eric Schwartz, Asst. Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration told Maryland Senator Ben Cardin (among others) that the refugee program was so successful there would be no need to airlift Iraqis who helped the US.  (See also Schwartz connection to George Soros, here.)    Hat tip:   Friends of Refugees blog here.  By the way, since I’ve been busy elsewhere, read FOR for all the latest on refugees being left in the lurch by their federally contracted resettlement agencies.

From the Washington Post:

At a recent hearing, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin warned the State Department’s top refugee official that Iraqis who had worked for the U.S. military would be in increasing jeopardy during the American drawdown.

“Let me just remind you that in 1996, we had an airlift of Iraqis” involved with U.S. organizations, when their security was threatened, said Cardin (D-Md.).

“You don’t have to remind me” about the airlift, replied the official, Eric P. Schwartz. “Because I managed it at the National Security Council.”

Fourteen years after that dramatic operation, Schwartz is again grappling with the resettlement of Iraqis – this time, as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration.

During the first several years of the Iraq conflict, the administration of George W. Bush was intensely criticized for accepting only a trickle of the 3 million or more Iraqis who had fled their homes.

But the flow of Iraqis to the United States has dramatically expanded, to 18,000 last year.

It is now the largest refugee resettlement program in the world.

Read it all.

Note to Senator Cardin, maybe you should look into all the cases of Iraqi refugees who have been brought to the US and are profoundly unhappy with their resettlement—some have even returned to the Middle East.  Or, maybe hop on over to Senator Lugar’s office and learn more about how the refugee program is working on the ground in overburdened cities like Ft. Wayne, IN.

Check the numbers here.  The fiscal year ends on September 30th.  The Obama refugee resettlement goal was 80,000 for this year.  They have now resettled 60,566 as of July 31st.  14,836 are Iraqis (the largest single group of refugees admitted, with Burmese coming in a close second).

Blogging — expensive and risky

I came across two items on blogging this morning that I want to pass along. One of them concerns commenters too.

First is a story from Philadelphia’s City Paper, Pay Up: Got a blog that makes no money? The city wants $300, thank you very much.

For the past three years, Marilyn Bess has operated MS Philly Organic, a small, low-traffic blog that features occasional posts about green living, out of her Manayunk home. Between her blog and infrequent contributions to, over the last few years she says she’s made about $50. To Bess, her website is a hobby. To the city of Philadelphia, it’s a potential moneymaker, and the city wants its cut.

In May, the city sent Bess a letter demanding that she pay $300, the price of a business privilege license.

“The real kick in the pants is that I don’t even have a full-time job, so for the city to tell me to pony up $300 for a business privilege license, pay wage tax, business privilege tax, net profits tax on a handful of money is outrageous,” Bess says.

This is city policy, not an isolated incident.

She’s not alone. After dutifully reporting even the smallest profits on their tax filings this year, a number — though no one knows exactly what that number is — of Philadelphia bloggers were dispatched letters informing them that they owe $300 for a privilege license, plus taxes on any profits they made.

If this story leads you to think Philadelphia has a predatory attitude toward business, you’re right. It’s like so many other big cities run by liberals. The article implies this:

But bloggers aren’t the only ones upset with the city’s tax structure. In June, City Council members Bill Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez unveiled a proposal to reform the city’s business privilege tax in an effort to make Philly a more attractive place for small businesses. If their bill passes, bloggers will still have to get a privilege license if their sites are designed to make money, but they would no longer have to pay taxes on their first $100,000 in profit. (If bloggers don’t want to fork over $300 for a lifetime license, Green suggests they take the city’s $50-a-year plan.)

Their bill will be officially introduced in September. “There’s a lot of support and interest in this idea,” Green says.

The second article, from the Los Angeles Times, is titled Blogger beware: Postings can lead to lawsuits.

The Internet has allowed tens of millions of Americans to be published writers. But it also has led to a surge in lawsuits from those who say they were hurt, defamed or threatened by what they read, according to groups that track media lawsuits.

“It was probably inevitable, but we have seen a steady growth in litigation over content on the Internet,” said Sandra Baron, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center in New York.

Here are some examples of what can happen:

Although bloggers may have a free-speech right to say what they want online, courts have found that they are not protected from being sued for their comments, even if they are posted anonymously.

Some postings have even led to criminal charges.

Hal Turner, a right-wing blogger from New Jersey, faces up to 10 years in prison for posting a comment that three Chicago judges “deserve to be killed” for having rejected a 2nd Amendment challenge to the city’s handgun ban in 2009. Turner, who also ran his own Web-based radio show, thought it “was political trash talk,” his lawyer said. But this month a jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., convicted him of threatening the lives of the judges on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In western Pennsylvania, a judge recently ruled a community website must identify the Internet address of individuals who posted comments calling a township official a “jerk” who put money from the taxpayers in “his pocket.” The official also owned a used car dealership, and one commenter called his cars “junk.” The official sued for defamation, saying the comments were false and damaged his reputation.

In the latter case, I don’t see anything wrong with calling a township official a jerk. It’s an opinion. (Though the article states later that a statement like this “may” be safe from a lawsuit.) Calling his cars junk is stating a fact that could be false and damaging. And in the first case, I don’t think that saying someone should be killed should be dismissed as “political trash talk,” though 10 years in prison is excessive.

Now to the commenters:

The Supreme Court has said that the 1st Amendment’s protection for the freedom of speech includes the right to publish “anonymous” pamphlets. But recently, judges have been saying that online speakers do not always have a right to remain anonymous.

Last month, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Nevada judge’s order requiring the disclosure of the identity of three people accused of conducting an “Internet smear campaign via anonymous postings” against Quixtar, the successor to the well-known Amway Corp.

“The right to speak, whether anonymously or otherwise, is not unlimited,” wrote Judge Margaret McKeown.

This issue was bound to come up. On the web, anyone can be a published writer.  That includes teenagers, who are not immune from these laws and legal decisions. It includes dangerous people, and people so dumb they can’t form a coherent sentence. There will be a lot more written on this subject and, I predict, more Supreme Court decisions before it’s all sorted out, if it ever is. Meanwhile, commenters at this blog can take away this guideline: You can call us what you like as long as it’s your opinion and not a false fact.