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Just when you thought you heard it all !

Steve

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DAYTON — A federal grand jury indicted two men on food stamp fraud and other felony charges in connection to alleged illegal trafficking activities at several Dayton businesses that resulted in police raiding those stores in May.

The indictments — unsealed last week by the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio — show charges were filed against Mohammed Zaid, who owns A&M Meats at 1609 Gilsey Ave., and Mohammed Qaqa, an employee at Food City, 1829 Germantown St.

[....]

Al-Idu Al-Gaheem, the owner of Cup of Dreams and Five Pillars Market and a local imam, allegedly received more than $2.5 million in food stamp reimbursements from the federal government, between $890,000 and nearly $2 million of which was from “unexplained” food stamp charges, according to an IRS agent’s affidavit in support of seizing Al-Gaheem’s bank account.

New meaning for phrase guns or butter:

During a 13-month period, Qaqa, 29, is accused of selling 11 handguns to a confidential police informant while he worked at Food City. Qaqa allegedly sold the guns in exchange for $1,220 in cash and $390 worth of food stamps, according to the indictment.

As a matter of fact, according to the 2008 Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Report to Congress(p.93), food stamp use is at 50% (in 2008) for all refugees, but at 61% for Middle Eastern refugees. Could they have figured out how to turn their food privileges into cold hard cash (and guns!).
 

Steve

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DAYTON — Authorities seized a bank account that at one time contained $2 million and was controlled by Al-Idu Al-Gaheem, the owner of some Dayton View neighborhood businesses and imam of a local mosque, according to search warrant affidavits filed in a series of food stamp fraud raids Tuesday.

The account contained less than $100,000 in it at the time of the seizure, but authorities believe Al-Gaheem illegally laundered $2 million through the account.

Officials said most of the money came through food stamp trafficking. In the affidavits, federal and state agents said their informants bought drugs and firearms and sold food stamp cards for cash, generally 50 cents on the dollar of benefits during an investigation that began in 2009.
Warrants were served at Riverview Cell & Cup of Dreams, 512 N. Broadway St.; Five Pillars Market, 1263 W. Riverview Ave.
In addition, agents searched the Masjid-At-Taqwa mosque, 701 N. Broadway St., and the nearby house of the mosque’s imam, Al-Gaheen. Five Pillars, and Riverview Cell & Cup of Dreams are owned by Al-Gaheem, who declined to comment Wednesday.

No charges have been filed and no one was arrested.
The affidavits supporting the search warrants were unsealed Wednesday.
Using surveillance, confidential informants and the monitoring of the account, IRS Special Agent Marcia L. Gross said Al-Gaheem stated in his initial
 application to handle the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp program, the store/cafe’s annual income was $70,000 a year.

Yet from January 2009 through November 2010, Five Pillars received $2.5 million from the program.

In addition, Gross stated in the affidavit that $910,000 in cash was withdrawn by Al-Gaheem from the bank account between Feb. 13, 2010, and Nov. 30, 2010. Further analysis showed that 96 percent of the $2.7 million in the account on Nov. 10. 2010, came from food stamp payments from the federal government.

Using various formulas,
Gross said accounting experts concluded that anywhere from $895,861 to almost $2 million, depending on the store’s markup, in food stamp charges could not be explained.

According to court records, confidential informants went to Five Pillars Market and were able to:
• purchase counterfeit brand-name clothing items and cigarettes using food stamp cards
• purchase a handgun from a store employee for $500
• sell food stamp benefits to a store employee for cash and
• purchase $1,500 worth of crack cocaine from an employee.
Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus, said additional raids at Food City, 1829 Germantown St.; and A&M Meats Inc., 1609 Gilsey Ave. were not related to those at Al-Gaheem’s businesses but court records indicate a similar pattern in alleged illegal activity.

In 2009, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives (ATF) launched an investigation into Mohammed Qaqa, an employee at the convenience store, Food City, located at 1829 Germantown St.
In November 2009, an informant walked into Food City and paid $100 to purchase a handgun from Qaqa, court records state.

The following spring, the informant began selling Qaqa food stamps for half their value, authorities said. Through January of this year, the informant continued buying guns from Qaqa, but Qaqa deducted the price of the pistols from the amount he paid for the food stamp cards.
Ali Saleh, the owner of Food City, said Wednesday he had no knowledge that Qaqa was allegedly engaged in illegal activity.

“I am very, very innocent,” Saleh said. “I had nothing to do with this. I know it was my store, but it was out of my control.”

The other investigation began in April 2010 when, a confidential informant told agents that Mohammed Zaid, owner of A&M Meats, was trafficking in food stamps. The next month, agents supplied the informant with a food stamp card worth $531, which he traded to Zaid for about half its value in cash, court documents state.

From June 2010 to March 2011, Zaid traded cash for thousands of dollars worth of food stamp cards, paying 50 cents on the dollar, court records state. Zaid also allegedly sold the informant a gun.

Store management declined to comment on the investigation.

But Omar Yahya, kitchen manager for Five Pillars Market, who allegedly sold the informant a handgun for $500, said Wednesday he did nothing illegal and the business is a pillar of the community.

Yahya said the agents who raided the market had drug dogs and were clearly searching for narcotics that did not exist.

“Somebody must have put the bug in the wrong ear, because I don’t know anyone in that store that would do that. I am not saying we are angels, but ... It’s not like we have a store that is a front for some other illegal operation.”

yes it is like you have a store front for illegal activity..

we need to stop letting immigrants in until we can check them out... and alot of them already here should be deported..
 

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