An Illinois grocer found guilty in an $844,000 food stamp fraud case has been sentenced to two and half years in federal prison, according to an announcement by police on Monday.
Khaled Saleh, the owner of Sunset Food Market in Waukegan, Illinois, was found guilty of defrauding government and nutrition programs of $844,000 over a two year period. An undercover police investigation led to the illegal operation.
NBC News writes that Khaled Saleh allegedly committed the fraud by paying customers cash currency in exchange for grocery items they purchased at competing stores using food stamps and nutritional coupons.
The 48-year-old grocer, and his 37-year-old wife, Fatima Saleh, reportedly resold the products at the Sunset Food Market for a significantly higher price.
Pocketing the difference, the couple managed to accumulate $844,000 in profits from the food stamp fraud over two years. The Salehs allegedly engaged in the fraudulent practice thousands of times.
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Khaled Saleh claimed in court documents that he was introduced to the food stamp scheme by his business partner. However, police have not filed any charges against the partner in connection with the case.
Khaled and Fatima Saleh pleaded guilty to the food stamp fraud last year. Prosecuters reportedly asked for a minimum 30-month sentence to signify the seriousness of such fraud to other business owners.
Fatima Saleh’s sentencing is slated to be handed down on March 22. She has reportedly asked the court allow her to remain out of prison to care for the couple’s four children.
Do you think the grocer’s sentence was appropriate for an $844,000 food stamp fraud scheme?