‘Middle Eastern Market’ Food Stamp Scam Cost Taxpayers $1,278,700

Reuters Photo
Reuters Photo

Last week, Emad Khalil Karaein, Jawad Khalil-Ahmad Karaein, and Khader Khalil Karaein pleaded guilty for their roles in a food stamp fraud scheme at the Middle Eastern Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that cost taxpayers at least $1,278,700.

The scam, which ran for nine years, involved the commonly used cash-for-food stamp scheme that trades reduced cash amounts for taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.

In exchange for the three brothers’ pleas, charges against two other brothers–Salah Eddin-Khalil Karaein and Dawood Khalil Karaein–will be dropped.

According to WZZM, the Middle Eastern Market bagged nearly $736,000 in Michigan Bridge Card (EBT) program and some $544,000 from the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) welfare program.

Meanwhile, in Florida, authorities busted up another multi-million food stamp fraud that resulted in a guilty plea in federal court last Tuesday by Basem Abualteen, who helped steal over $2.1 million in taxpayer-funded food stamp funds, reports the Lakeland Ledger. Shoenekia Abu-Aish pleaded guilty to involvement in the same scam earlier in December.

Food stamp fraud remains a common and costly problem. The explosion of the food stamp program has ushered in what the Wall Street Journal dubbed a “food stamp crime wave.”

Since January, 2009, the number of individuals on food stamps in America has skyrocketed from 31.9 million to 46,459,998.