A federal judge sentenced a Pennsylvania store owner to 21 months in prison and ordered him to pay $1.7 million to the federal government on Monday for conducting a food stamp fraud scheme.
Senior U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone sentenced Nureden Jibul, 34, of Erie, to one year and nine months in prison and ordered him to pay $1.7 million in restitution to the federal government for carrying out a scheme where he allowed people to trade food stamp benefits for cash, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Erie announced Tuesday.
Nureden Jibul agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors where he would plead guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government in exchange for a lesser sentence, according to court documents obtained by GoErie.com.
Nureden Jibul enlisted the assistance of an accomplice, John L. McDowell, asking him to submit a falsified application to obtain a food stamp license so the food stamp terminals at the convenience stores he owned would not bear Jibul’s name, the indictment stated.
The store owner, along with his co-conspirators Samia Jibul and Jibul Jibul, then orchestrated a scheme where food stamp recipients could trade their benefits for cash.
All four defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, according to court records. McDowell and Samia Jibul avoided prison and were sentenced to two years of probation. Jibul is expected to be sentenced on October 1.
Food stamp fraud costs American taxpayers millions of dollars each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA said that in 2017, food stamp fraud stuck taxpayers with a $560 million bill. Some of the biggest food stamp fraud busts of 2017 ranged in the tens of millions of dollars.