'Obama Express' Grocery Store Caught in Food Stamp Trafficking
After Obama's election in 2009 a small grocery store/convenience store in Florida changed its name to the Obama Express. Several other stores across the country did the same thing. One of those was a location in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, in 2013, the Maryland outlet is under investigation, accused of illegally trafficking in food stamps.
On September 17, WBAL reported that nine retailers in Baltimore County had been arrested for illegally redeeming food stamps for cash and kicking back a portion to food stamp recipients. The retailers did not sell them any merchandise or food.
One of those indicted was one Abdullah Aljaradi who allegedly obtained $2 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cash from Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
Abdullah Aljaradi, age 51, of Baltimore; Second Obama Express and D&M Deli and Grocery, 901 Harlem Avenue, Suite A and B, respectively. From October 2010 through July 2013, Aljaradi allegedly obtained more than $2 million in payments for food sales that never occurred.
The office of the US Attorney, District of Maryland, has further information on the charges:
The indictments allege that the defendants exchanged EBT benefits for cash, in violation of the food stamp program rules. The indictments allege that the defendants typically paid half the value of the EBT benefits in cash. To avoid detection, the defendants often debited the funds from the card in multiple transactions over a period of hours or days. As a result of unlawful cash transactions, the defendants obtained more than $6,898,000 in EBT deposits for transactions in which the stores did not provide food.
If convicted, the nine retailers could get 20 years each in jail.