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Document and Benefit Fraud

Store owner pleads guilty to food stamp fraud

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — An upstate New York man pleaded guilty to the unauthorized use, transfer, acquisition, alteration and possession of food stamp benefits. The plea is the culmination of an investigation being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of the Inspector General.

Mousa Qadi, 34, of Rochester, pleaded guilty before U. S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

According to court documents, between November 2008 and July 2010, the defendant fraudulently acquired and possessed $120,000 in food stamp benefits issued by the USDA while operating Nick's Super Store located at 460 Monroe Avenue in Rochester. Food stamp benefits were issued by the USDA through New York State social service agencies to eligible beneficiaries who were required to purchase eligible food items.

Qadi, however, purchased the food stamp benefits for less than their full value from the beneficiaries in exchange for cash. He did this by swiping the food stamp access device cards through the electronic funds transfer terminal installed at Nick's Super Store.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Lee, Western District of New York, is in charge of the prosecution. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2012, before Judge Siragusa.