Hicham Khallad, 47, and Karim Euchi, 47, both of Rochester, NY, who were convicted of food stamp fraud, were sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. Khallad was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 45 days, and three years of supervised release. Euchi, an employee of Khallad, received a sentence of two years’ probation. The defendants were also ordered to pay $74,500 in restitution to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), uses federal tax dollars to help low-income individuals purchase food. Eligible individuals are given a debit card containing their SNAP benefits, from which they can make food purchases at authorized food stores. A business that accepts SNAP benefits must be authorized to do so and can only accept SNAP benefits in connection with the sale of eligible food products. It is unlawful for any store to accept SNAP benefits for non-food items, such as cigarettes, beer, or cash.
Between May 2018 and February 2019, two defendants operated the Joseph Market at 900 Joseph Avenue in Rochester. During that time, the defendants fraudulently accepted SNAP benefits from customers in exchange for non-food items, such as cigarettes. Both men also purchased food stamp benefits for less than their full value for cash, resulting in a profit for the defendants.
In so doing, Khallad and Euchi caused the United States Government to deposit money into the Joseph Market’s bank accounts for food that was never purchased.
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins, and the Monroe County Department of Social Services, under the direction of Commissioner Corinda Crossdale.