A Louisiana convenience store owner is accused of carrying out more than $1.2 million in food stamp fraud where he bought food stamp benefits off of local patrons on the government dole.
Authorities arrested Mohammad Abudayeh, 25, of Alexandria, on March 14 and charged him with multiple fraud charges— including money laundering, unauthorized use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, racketeering, computer fraud, and bank fraud.
The Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud Unit opened an investigation into the owner of an Alexandria convenience store in June 2018 after receiving a tip that he had been purchasing SNAP benefits from patrons receiving those benefits.
Authorities identified Abudayeh as a suspect over the course of the investigation, discovering that he allegedly conducted more than $1.2 million in food stamp fraud between October 2017 and March 2019.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for Abudayeh’s business and residence. While conducting the search warrant, investigators discovered $340,000 in cash and 11 cases of booze believed to be stolen from a nearby grocery store, police said.
Abudayeh is currently in custody at the Rapides Parish Detention Center, where he was already incarcerated on unrelated charges of attempted feticide and criminal conspiracy to commit feticide.
Food stamp fraud schemes are quite common in convenience stores across America.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from 2019 found that criminals were responsible for trafficking at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits. But some experts say there is more welfare fraud in this country than what the reports state.
Kristina Rasmussen, the vice president of federal affairs for the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), told Breitbart News in February that the amount of fraud in the U.S. “could be a lot higher” than the GAO estimates.
“Food stamp criminals can be a creative bunch and they are always coming up with new schemes once the authorities catch on to one, but generally speaking, there are two big buckets of fraud: Its people who are getting access to the program who shouldn’t be getting access … or folks who are accessing the program who really aren’t eligible,” Rasmussen said.