http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_ ... ck_check=1
Although very few lugged groceries, government food stamp records showed business at Stryker Avenue Market was booming: In one three-month period, the tiny market had more electronic benefit transfer transactions than a nearby Rainbow supermarket more than 28 times its size.
The agents thought they knew what was behind it, and their suspicions have resulted in the indictment of Khaffak Sahib Ansari, the market's former owner, on three counts of food-stamp fraud.
The indictment, returned Tuesday, alleges Ansari got about $3 million he wasn't entitled to by trading cash for food-stamp benefits for which the government reimbursed him.
Ansari, 45, of Arden Hills, is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday, and his attorney says the man will tell U.S. Magistrate Tony Leung that he did nothing wrong.
"I haven't seen the government's evidence, but all I know is my client says he's not guilty," said defense attorney Daniel Schermer. "We have to see what the government's got."
In a 13-page affidavit filed last month, Special Agent Tiffany Nelson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General laid out specifics of the case, detailing a three-year investigation: Agents audited records, conducted surveillance of the store and sent in confidential informants to trade benefits for cash.
Investigators noticed the brisk pace of the store's business with EBT cards.
"Between 2004 and 2009, the average EBT redemption for a similarly sized store in Minnesota was approximately $322,793," Nelson wrote. "In contrast, during that same time period, Stryker's EBT redemptions...total approximately $3,153,059."
Crime - the media loves it, people fear it, and criminals get away with it!
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