Unflattering Behavior

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Impersonation can be amusing when a comedian imitates a public figure on a late night talk show. But, it becomes a serious matter when a person imitates someone else in order to commit a crime. NewsNet5.com reports that two brothers defrauded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of two million dollars through four stores that they owned and operated. The businesses were registered under the names of other people to conceal their prior convictions.

The fraud was committed over a four-year period of time when the brothers purchased food stamp cards from customers and exchanged the funds for store inventory and personal use. The co-owners accepted food stamps for items that were ineligible including beer and cigarettes. (These items cannot be purchased with an EBT card, even when sold in grocery stores.)

The two men each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, one count of food stamp fraud and two counts of unlawful redemption of food stamps. The younger brother also pleaded guilty to an additional count of theft of public funds.

Court documents show that the older brother has a prior conviction for food stamp trafficking while the younger brother was convicted for impersonating a police officer.

It has been said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. In this case, it is doubtful that anyone wants to imitate these two criminals who will probably be spending some considerable time in jail for their offenses.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on the article titled, ”Two Brook Park Men Plead to $2 Million in Food Stamp Fraud,” written by Doug Rogers and published by NewsNet5.com on September 23, 2013.

CLEVELAND – Two men who defrauded the food stamp program out of $2 million pleaded guilty in court Monday.

Saed (Sam) Wahdan, 41, and his brother, Maher (Mario) Wahdan, 42, both of Brook Park, accepted food stamps at four Cleveland stores for ineligible items, such as beer and cigarettes, according to Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.