A grocery store owner in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was charged Thursday with buying food stamps from 128 customers and using the proceeds to buy $45,000 in bulk merchandise to resell in his shop, including 1,200 cases of Red Bull.
Aslam Khawaja, of Iranistan Avenue, claims he was only trying to help the poor.
If convicted, Khawaja could face up to 20 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine.
Connecticut is not alone in combating what the Wall Street Journal dubbed the “food stamp crime wave.”
In February, Dallas authorities charged Kamardeen Ogunleye and manager Robert Gordon with running a food stamp scheme that cost taxpayers $1,900,000.
In Baltimore, Abdulmalik Abdulla and Ahmed Mohssen were charged in January with running a food stamp scam that cost taxpayers $1,500,000.
Two illegal immigrants from Korea, Hyung Cho and Dae Cho, were sentenced in February for food stamp fraud that cost taxpayers $1,400,000.