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Fairborn Market Owner Sentenced for Food Stamp Swap
DAYTON -- George J. Daoud, 65, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to 14 months in prison and ordered to repay the government $131,000 for illegally swapping food stamps for ineligible items including drug paraphernalia and a car as the owner of the Main Express Food Mart in Fairborn.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, says Daoud also committed unemployment insurance fraud against the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services by claiming he was not working when he was in fact running a business enterprise.
Stewart says investigators began looking into the market after receiving complaints that the store was selling ineligible products to people with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, are to be used only for the purchase of eligible food items. Participants in the program access the benefits using an Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT card. According to court documents, Daoud and his co-conspirators accepted EBT cards in exchange for ineligible items such as cigarettes and alcohol, drug paraphernalia, cash and a motor vehicle.
Daoud has already paid the restitution and also forfeited $65,564 in seized assets.
Investigators found that Daoud directly or indirectly participated in at least 500 separate fraudulent transactions between February 2010 and January 2012. Daoud pleaded guilty October 16, 2012, to one count each of conspiracy to launder money, unauthorized use of SNAP benefits, and theft of public monies.
Store employee Nicholas G. Butcher, 54, of Fairborn, pleaded guilty on June 18, 2012, to one count of conspiracy. He was sentenced on September 28, 2012, to five years probation and named, along with Daoud, in an order to pay $200,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation between agents of the USDA Inspector General, Labor Inspector General, Secret Service and the Ohio Investigative Unit which is part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. He also recognized Assistant U.S. Attorney Dwight Keller, who represented the United States in the case.
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