Four in Cleveland Area Charged with Food Stamp Fraud and WIC Fraud Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 11, 2014|
Four men from Northeast Ohio were charged in a five-count indictment with engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the food stamp and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs from a store on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland, law enforcement officials said.
Indicted are Bashir Mohammed, age 31, of Cleveland; Yusuf Maalin, 45, of Cleveland; Ali Shire Ahmed, 54, of North Olmsted, Ohio; and Farah Hasan Warsame, 27, of Cleveland.
The indictment alleges that Mohamed, Maalin, Ahmed, and Warsame conspired to illegally allow customers to redeem food stamp and WIC benefits at Bashir Market, 8401 Detroit Avenue, in exchange for cash, ineligible items, and credit towards overseas wire transfers.
Mohamed, Maalin, and Warsame allegedly worked at the market and redeemed the food stamp and WIC benefits for the cash, unauthorized items, or credit towards overseas funds transfers. The credit for overseas funds transfers was tracked on a ledger kept at the market, according to the indictment.
Mohamed or Maalin would then provide Ahmed with cash or a check that Ahmed would take to Columbus, Ohio to send overseas by wire transfer. The indictment alleges that the conspiracy involved the attempted redemption of approximately $670,612 in food stamp and WIC benefits, according to the indictment.
The conspiracy took place between 2008 and last year, according to the indictment.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Mohamed, Maalin, Ahmed, and Warsame are also charged with counts of food stamp fraud, unlawful food stamp redemptions, and WIC fraud. Ahmed is charged with one count of money laundering.
The indictment results from an investigation conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.
The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew W. Shepherd and M. Kendra Klump.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.