Thirty arrested in Oklahoma food stamp fraud busts

Unfortunately the article only tells us about two of the thirty busted in the scam.  Maybe they are the big fish—an Ethiopian immigrant ripped off US taxpayers to the tune of $1.2 million and the Pakistani got $650,000 before they were busted.

From NewsOK:

A massive food stamp fraud investigation culminated this week with the arrest of about 30 people from 22 stores in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Law enforcement investigators and officers swept through the metro area Wednesday and Thursday making the arrests, said Sheree Powell, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Details of the investigation remain sketchy, but the names of two of the individuals charged were made public Thursday after the unsealing of multiple-count indictments in Oklahoma City federal court.

Store owners Muluneh Zeleke and Muhammad Zahid are accused of defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program out of more than $1.8 million.

The program is commonly referred to by its former food stamp program name.

Zeleke, the 54-year-old owner of Z&Z Convenience Store at 2445 N Martin Luther King Ave. in Oklahoma City, is accused of conspiring with clerks and food stamp recipients to defraud the federal food stamp program out of more than $1.2 million.


Also charged in a federal indictment was Zahid, 28, of Edmond, who was identified as the owner of Ghani Mart at 2719 NE 23 in Oklahoma City.

Zahid, who was born in Pakistan, is accused of using an almost identical scheme to defraud the food stamp program out of more than $650,000.

Where are the investigative reporters!  This is one more in a long and sorry line of these food stamp fraud busts and they all follow a similar pattern involving legal immigrants.   I’m convinced the starting place is the E-2 Treaty Investor program which I most recently highlighted here back in April.   Both Ethiopia and Pakistan are on the allowed countries list for this special visa, here.

Meanwhile food stamp use is way up in Oklahoma.   Remember too that there is the other side to this crime—the seller of the stamps to the convenience store is also a criminal!  I bet the use goes up when people realize they can turn their stamps in for cash with the help of the convenience store fraudsters.

For new readers, I’ve posted dozens of stories like this one.  Use our search function for ‘food stamp fraud’ to find more.  And, by the way, for those of you who think I’m selecting the immigrant cases on purpose, I’m not.  In three years I have seen this type of big food stamp fraud involving exchanging cash for stamps perpetrated by someone with a traditional American name only possibly once.   I truly believe there is some sort of international network that establishes these convenience store rip-offs.  That’s why some enterprising investigative reporter should jump on this—-if there are any such investigators left in the journalism profession.

Handy resource: National Governors Association policy position on immigration…

….and on refugees.

Since we are about to elect a new bunch of governors this is a good time to mention again that the National Governors Association has a lengthy and quite good policy statement on immigration and on the refugee program.  Of course, two of the biggest concerns involving refugees are consultation with local communities (very rarely happens) and unfunded mandates.

See the latest version that I have (there may be a 2010 document now too, so if you are aware of it, let me know).

This is filed in our ‘where to find information’ category.

Merkel: Multiculturalism has failed in Germany

Thanks to three readers for forwarding me this piece from the BBC yesterday in which Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, says that lack of assimilation by mostly Turkish and Arab immigrants is the cause of growing social unease in Germany.

Attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have “utterly failed”, Chancellor Angela Merkel says.

She said the so-called “multikulti” concept – where people would “live side-by-side” happily – did not work, and immigrants needed to do more to integrate – including learning German.

The comments come amid rising anti-immigration feeling in Germany.

A recent survey suggested more than 30% of people believed the country was “overrun by foreigners”.

The study – by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation think-tank – also showed that roughly the same number thought that some 16 million of Germany’s immigrants or people with foreign origins had come to the country for its social benefits.

In typical politician fashion however Merkel goes on to tell her audience of mostly younger members of her political party that immigrants are still welcome—they just need to learn German quickly and not separate themselves from society by creating the well-known Muslim ‘no go zones.’    Good luck with that.

Read the whole story.