News 4 Investigates: Are your tax dollars fueling food stamp fraud?

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by Chris Nagus

KMOV.com

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 3:50 PM

(KMOV) -- Food Stamps can be a lifeline for the poor, they can also provide criminals an opportunity for fraud. An O'fallon Illinois man is accused of bilking taxpayers out of $1,590,000.

Two years ago News 4 talked to Rami Mohammad as federal agents seized evidence from a business owned by his brother. Mohammad was the manager at the Quik Stop Store in Washington Park. Mohammad told us he was being targeted because of his name, and that he did nothing wrong. In 2008 Mohammad told us, "It's not that I'm a terrorist, they just have to check."

Today Rami is facing prison and possible deportation to Jordan after pleading guilty to food stamp and wire fraud. According to court documents customers would receive cash payments from Mohammad in exchange for access to their Illinois Link or Missouri E.B.T. cards. Customers would purchase non existent groceries, and would split the cash with Mohammad.

Federal agents seized $3,545 in cash from the store, they also seized $11,264 from a bank account in Fairview Heights. Two years ago Rami told News 4 he wired $13,000 to friends in Jordan for an Internet business. The U.S. Attorney won't comment on what happened to the rest of the money, but will do an interview after Mohammad is sentenced. 

News 4 is asking if you have seen food stamp fraud in your community. If you know where it's happening let us know at broke@kmov.com 

 

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