As President Donald Trump is attacked for efforts to reform the food stamp program, a New Jersey man has been sentenced to three years in jail for defrauding the program to the tune of $3.2 million.
Muhammad Shahbaz reached a deal with prosecutors that included an agreement to pay back $1.5 million in restitution and serve 33 months for his actions.
Shahbaz worked at W.B. Trade Fair Supermarket in Hartford and allowed customers there to buy prohibited items with food stamps for a fee. The scheme started in 2014.
A recording caught Shahbaz allowing a customer to buy cigarettes and a bong with food stamps. Non-food items and items not considered nutritious food are ineligible to be purchased through the program.
“Although there is no evidence that establishes that Mr. Shahbaz himself was paid any additional compensation beyond his regular hourly wage, his actions helped line the pockets of the store owner — dollars that were supposed to provide assistance to the poor,” the sentencing memo read. The extent of fraud in the food stamp program is unknown.
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