There is a reason why President Trump wants to reduce government benefits. It’s because people abuse them.
Programs like Welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid were created to help people in need. If you’re going through a tough time, these programs can get you through it. For a time. Then you need to get back on your feet.
All too often recipients of these programs never get off them. Years of government waste and poor oversight have allowed people to milk these programs, robbing the tax payers of plenty of cash.
Sometimes, even, people manipulate the system to a shocking degree.
Enter Ali Ratib Daham, a man who stole over $1.4 million from the government. How? Through food stamps.
An Iraqi immigrant who owned a halal market in Portland, Maine, pleaded guilty to using his store to commit millions of dollars in food stamp fraud.
Ali Ratib Daham, 40, of Westbrook, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of food stamp trafficking, conspiracy, money laundering, and theft of government funds in U.S. District Court in Portland, the Portland Press-Herald reported.
Daham, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen after emigrating from Iraq, conspired with others to defraud the U.S. government of $1.4 million from 2011 to 2016, prosecutors say.
Court documents show that the shop owner gave customers cash in exchange for their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program benefits.
He then redeemed the benefits so the federal government would reimburse him for the full amount, according to court documents…
Daham’s sentencing is expected to be scheduled for the spring of 2018. He faces up to 20 years in prison and is required to pay $1.4 million in restitution.
This sounds shocking, but it isn’t even the first time we reported this kind of fraud. It seems like there are many store owners who know about this scheme. But only now—under Trump—is the government cracking down on it.
Store owners buy food stamps from customers at a reduced price, then sell them back to the government at their full value. It’s a scheme used over and over again by many. Yet under Obama, it mysteriously went on unnoticed.
There have been at least three other instances in the last year of store owners running this scheme. They stole up to $20 million or more. Hey, Congress, here’s a good way to lower the debt! Stop letting crooks abuse handouts!
Seems like a simple fix to me.