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Document and Benefit Fraud

Buffalo man pleads guilty to food stamp fraud

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Buffalo man pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to food stamp fraud. The investigation is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Riyadh Almadrahi, 34, of Buffalo, now faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. According to court documents, Almadrahi participated in the operation of a deli known as Zip's Food and Beverage in Buffalo. The defendant and others exchanged customers' food stamp benefits for cash in violation of the rules governing the food stamp program. In less than a two year period, Almadrahi acquired $143,700 through these fraudulent transactions.

The indictment is the culmination of an investigation on the part of HSI; FBI; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General; and New York State Police.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 27, 2013, before Judge Arcara.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Moscati, Western District of New York, is prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. government.