An Ohio man is in hot water with authorities for allegedly running a $2.7 million food stamp fraud scheme alongside an illegal slaughterhouse – all out of his own home.
Authorities charged Amin M. Salem, 59, of Westlake, with food stamp fraud, laundering money, operating an unregulated slaughterhouse, and improper possession of firearms for running a $2.7 million food stamp fraud scheme at several gas stations he owned in the Cleveland area between 2010 and 2016, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Investigators say Salem used the illegal terminals inside his gas stations to process fraudulent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in his son’s name since he could not operate stores that administer SNAP benefits due to previous convictions of food stamp fraud.
Authorities also discovered that Salem sold uninspected meat and allowed customers to use their food stamp benefits to purchase the meat, which had not been presented before the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for inspection.
Salem often slaughtered lambs and goats at a farm on his home’s property, then sold the meat from those animals to SNAP recipients for a profit while disposing the blood and bodily fluids from those slaughtered animals into the Black River, investigators said.
The profits from the illegal meat sales and food stamp transactions would then be deposited back into the gas station accounts, which allowed Salem and his son, Mohamed Salem, 32, to place the funds into bank accounts in their names, investigators said.
Amin Salem — who had prior convictions of food stamp fraud, money laundering, and mail fraud — also had an AR-15 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun in his possession.
Mohamed Salem and family business partner Zahran al-Qadan, 55, also face money laundering charges in connection with the scheme.
Mohamed also faces additional charges, including trafficking counterfeit goods and using laundered money to carry out real estate transactions.
“This father and son duo engaged in various illegalities to include stealing from every taxpaying citizen by engaging in food stamp fraud, a program designed to help those in need,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Hughes. “Salem put others at risk by selling unsanitary, unregulated food.”