Brothers-in-law plead guilty in $1.7 million food stamp scam

TROY — A Troy man and his brother-in-law from Shelby Township will serve time in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding customers in a food stamp scam at their Detroit store from June 2007 through December 2011.

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh III sentenced Adnan Kejbou, 47, of Troy, to 21 months in prison, and Ayad Yatooma, 44, of Shelby Township, was sentenced to serve 18 months.

In a prepared statement, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Steeh sentenced the men June 25 and 30, respectively.

Both pleaded guilty to over $1.7 million in food stamp fraud, which they engaged in at Caesar Food Center on West McNichols in Detroit, the store they owned and operated, which was an authorized Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, dealer.

According to court documents, the two perpetrated fraud known as discounting, in which SNAP benefits issued to legitimate beneficiaries were sold to the store at a 50 percent discount. As a result, the SNAP customers only received half of the value of their SNAP benefits, while 100 percent of the benefits were credited to the store’s account. Kejbou and Yatooma also sold cigarettes and liquor, unauthorized SNAP products, in exchange for SNAP benefits, at inflated prices.

Upon their release from prison, Kejbou and Yatooma are ordered to serve two years probation and pay $1.74 million in restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Assets of the store and the store itself were seized.

Kejbou’s attorney could not be reached for comment before press time.

“He stepped up and accepted his responsibility for his participation,” said Yatooma’s attorney, Neil Rockind. “Eddie (Ayad) found himself in a very difficult situation, taking over a family business and essentially continuing doing things. … In hindsight, he wishes he acted differently, sold his interest in the company or backed away.”

The USDA-Office of Inspector General investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Weier prosecuted the case. He could not be reached for comment before press time.

via C & G News

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