FARGO - A Fargo man who operated a neighborhood grocery store here was sentenced for defrauding a federal government food program, U.S. Attorney Christopher Myers announced Wednesday, Nov. 30.
Zedan Khalaf Ali, 51, was sentenced for defrauding the U.S. of more than $365,000 between March 2011 and March 1, 2013, while operating the Noor Al Huda grocery, Myers said.
U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson ordered Ali to pay back $365,058.10, serve 60 days of home confinement, complete 200 hours of community service and pay a $100 special assessment, Myers said in a release.
Ali was accused of defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The program, once commonly known as the food stamp program, provides clients benefits on electronic benefits transfer cards similar to prepaid credit cards. SNAP benefits recipients can use the cards to buy approved items such as food, but not to get cash.
Over 18 months, Ali, along with with co-defendants Lamia Ali (his wife) and Abass Hassan Amedi, fraudulently cashed out SNAP benefits on the EBT cards, Myers said.
For example, Ali and his co-defendants would charge $200 to an EBT card and Noor Al Huda's bank account would receive $200 from SNAP. Ali and his co-defendants would then give half of what they received from SNAP in cash to the EBT card holder, Myers said.
Ali would often charge an EBT card for an entire month's benefits in one transaction, Myers said.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General.