A Wisconsin woman and her son have been indicted for allegedly stealing $3 million from the federal government through a benefits program intended to help the poor, according to court records.
The indictment, released late Wednesday, says the fraud was committed at Family Super Saver store 2301 W. Hopkins St. between 2009 and 2014. The indictment was handed down by the grand jury Tuesday.
Elham M. "Brenda" Abdul Rahim and Ahmad Zaki Abdul Rahim were both indicted on a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Elham Rahim also was indicted on counts of fraud and unauthorized use of food stamps, while Ahmad Rahim was also indicted on a count of lying to investigators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The conspiracy count carries up to 20 years in prison, but the defendants are likely to get much less time in prison under federal sentencing guidelines if they are convicted.
Ahmad Rahim said Wednesday he didn't know that he and his mother had been indicted and he denied being involved in any fraud. He said his father, who has since died, used to run the store and he could not account for how he ran the operation.
According to the indictment:
The Rahims used the store to exchange Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP cards for cash. Through the program, recipients get a debit card. The defendants would swipe the card for a certain amount, say $400, and give half the amount to the recipients in cash and keep the rest. The store would charge the government for the entire $400.
Ahmad Rahim also was charged with lying because in February he told investigators from the Department of Agriculture that he was "100% certain" that such fraud had not occurred. The indictment says that was false because he had personally committed the fraud.
No court date has been set in the case.
Through the scheme, the store received about $3 million more than it was entitled to receive.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel