Between the colossal illegal alien situation in this country and the massive food stamp fraud crime spree that has been ongoing for nearly the entire second term of the Obama administration, the Sessions Department of Justice is one busy government entity.
Over the past few months, the DOJ and the FBI have been coordinating sting operations designed to pinpoint and prosecute convenience store owners and other small businesses that have been trafficking in food stamps and committing shocking levels of fraud at the expense of the American taxpayer.
In Florida, as in Maryland, Wisconsin, and Kentucky earlier in the year, feds have been compiling information and evidence in a case that is one of the largest examples of food stamp fraud that has been uncovered in decades. Not only was the entire Miami ring discovered and shut down, but the many arrests that were made have gone a long way toward discovering others who were involved in the scheme to defraud the American people.
For the state of Florida, it isn’t unusual to have convenience stores on every corner and food stamps participation to be high. But in the case of these 12 defendants, the amounts of money they were dealing with was so heinous and so unbelievable that it’s truly a miracle that they got away with it for so many years, stretching back to 2012. The amount of the fraud? In excess of $20 million dollars!
Twelve Floridians have been charged with running an alleged $20 million food stamp fraud scheme in one of the “largest” food stamp fraud crackdowns in history, according to the Justice Department.
Federal prosecutors told the Miami Herald that the 12 defendants who reportedly defrauded the federal government of $20 million were charged with food stamp fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The list of those charged include Mohammed Alobaisi, 37; Mohammad Alteen, 33; Joe Ann Baker, 56; Reynold Francois, 38; Omar Hajje, 43; Jalal Hajyousef, 42; Andy Javier Herrera, 24, and his father, Javier Herrera, 49; Ihab Hassouna, 44; Maria Jerdana, 36; Hasan Saleh, 59; and Yousef “Joe” Homedan Zahran, 60.
“In this instance, eight small convenience stores in South Florida committed a staggering amount of fraud in a relatively short amount of time,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, special agent in charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of the Inspector General, in a press release.
Some of the defendants owned, operated, or worked at retailers who accepted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as payment. Others worked at unauthorized stores, but allegedly used point-of-sale terminals of authorized retailers to carry out the fraudulent transactions.
Out of all the defendants charged, the Herreras are accused of defrauding the most out of the federal government. Andy Herrera, owner of Santa Ana Market II in Miami, and his father allegedly committed $10 million worth of food stamp fraud from April 2012 to September 2017, accounting for half of the $20 million food stamp fraud scheme.
Store owners and employees who commit food stamp fraud face steep consequences.
There is also a growing trend of these SNAP thieves being predominantly Democrats and that is a very troubling (if not expected) trend. If we cannot get a plurality of Democrats in Congress to agree that this is a problem for the nation, how is the problem ever going to be halted?
For the Trump administration, this level of scrutiny is being hailed by his supporters as not only the right thing to do, but one of the many important things for which he was specifically voted into office. The Establishment of course doesn’t seem to give this a second thought. However, as is typical with the Left, they decry these operations as little more than racism and bigotry. It’s truly sad these days how doing the right thing means being branded a racist and a bigot.