The operators of a Rochester, New York, deli pleaded guilty to a $154,000 food stamp fraud scheme, officials say.
The Justice Department announced Monday that Hicham Khallad, and Karim Euchi, both 47 years old, pleaded guilty to committing food stamp fraud before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.
WROC reported that Euchi and Khallad ran the food stamp fraud scheme at Joseph Market between May 2018 and February 2019.
During that time, the store operators allowed customers to trade their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for non-food items such as cigarettes.
It is against the law for a business to accept SNAP benefits for non-food items and non-eligible food products such as hot foods.
Prosecutors say Joseph Market received $154,000 in SNAP funds for food that was not purchased. Khallad and Euchi also made a profit by purchasing food stamps for less than their cash value, WHAM reported.
If convicted, the pair faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The two former deli operators are due back in court for sentencing on April 10.