Two Korean citizens in the United States illegally were sentenced last week in Baltimore to prison for obtaining over $1,400,000 in payments for food sales that never occurred as part of a food stamp and wire fraud scheme.
U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III gave Hyung Cho 38 months in prison and three years of supervised release and his mother, Dae Cho, 18 months in prison. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland, “Both defendants resided in Catonsville, Maryland and are Korean citizens who are illegally present in the United States.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that the Chos “agreed not to object to any proceedings that may be brought to remove them from the United States upon completion of their sentence.”
The Chos’ food stamp for cash scheme occurred from June 2011 to May 2013. According to Dae Cho, they exchanged between $25,000 to $30,000 worth of food stamps a month in the form of approximately 50 fraudulent transactions a day.
The Chos were caught as part of a larger Maryland food stamp fraud sweep that indicted eight of ten convenience store owners last September. Among those were two citizens of Yemen, Abdullah Aljaradi and Ahmed Al-Jabrati, living in Baltimore who pled guilty to wire fraud for operating two convenience stores, Second Obama Express and D&M Deli and Grocery. From October 2010 to July 2013, Aljaradi and Al-Jabrati obtained over $2 million in payments for food purchases that never took place. The two men are scheduled for sentencing in March and April.
A one-hour Hannity special with the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) called “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps” revealed how the food stamp industry has become a magnet for fraudsters as well as a major source of corporate welfare for big companies that profit from the explosive growth of the food stamp program.