U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said a sweep of several Southeast Michigan retailers was conducted to fight against fraud of the Department of Agriculture's Food Stamp Program.
The two-day federal search and arrest warrant operation was looking for retailers who engaged in the fraudulent practice of redeeming benefits for cash, and allowing benefits to be exchanged for items such as tobacco, liquor, clothing, household appliances and furnishings, contrary to federal regulations.
"Taxpayers in Michigan fund the food stamp program to provide food for the needy, not to create a commodity to be traded for profit," McQuade said. "We will work to ensure that food assistance programs are not abused."
The USDA, Office of Inspector General, Michigan State Police and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation has collaborated since 2007 to address food stamp trafficking throughout the state of Michigan.
To date, the initiative, termed the Bridge Card Enforcement Team (BCET), has resulted in 132 arrests, 215 search warrants, 109 guilty pleas, lengthy incarceration periods, approximately $23.5 million in court ordered fines and restitution, and $4.1 million in forfeiture.
Establishments searched in the sweep:
- Alhassan Market, 16147 West Warren Avenue, Detroit.
- Baghdad Mini Mart, 15337 West Warren Avenue, Dearborn.
- Ben Alkamal, 10394 West Warren Avenue, Dearborn.
- Dearborn Heights Market, 24715 West Warren Avenue, Dearborn Heights.
- Dejlah Fruit and Meat Market, 6606 Greenfield Road, Dearborn.
- Detroit Fish Express, 12555 Grand River Avenue, Detroit.
- New Salam Supermarket Nada, 6741 Greenfield Road, Detroit.
- Sahara West, 13710 West Warren, Dearborn.
Store owners arrested
- Nemer Rahal, Dearborn.
- Hameed Alzeyady, Dearborn.
- Jabir Al-Zayadi, Dearborn.
To report food stamp fraud click HERE.