SNAP SCAM

Perps allegedly turned food stamps into money stamps

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

New City – Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe announced on Tuesday that 26 defendants were being charged with defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) out of tens of thousands of dollars in food stamp benefits.

“It appears that every time we look at one of these great programs, we find attempts to steal money from these programs,” Zugibe said.

The scheme involved store clerks, including the two owners of the Nyack Food Mart, and 26 SNAP recipients. Owners and clerks would process fraudulent SNAP transactions without actual food purchases before handing over cash equaling about 75 percent of the fake purchase. The remainder was kept as a profit for the service.

The SNAP program distributes benefits through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Enrollees use electronic cards to purchase eligible items such as milk, eggs and bread, but are prohibited from using SNAP benefits to buy alcohol, tobacco, or other non-food items or withdraw cash through cashiers.

The transactions took place between January 2010 and January 2013. In effect, the accused stole at least $55,000 from the program before the scheme was ended. Further review revealed over $300,000 was stolen in 2012 alone.

Commissioner of Social Services Susan Sherwood explained the transactions were not only a theft from the state, but also an abuse of a program which impacts Rockland’s most vulnerable residents.

“This is just infuriating to see something as egregious as this,” Sherwood explained.

Suspicions arose when the Department of Social Services discovered a series of suspicious transactions in a review of their SNAP records. In response to the tipoff, Rockland investigators served search warrants to obtain video footage from the stores, comparing them to state transaction records.

What they found were blatant illegal transactions, one of which was released for press viewing. Cardholders approached clerks without merchandise and did not attempt to hide the transactions as normal food purchases. In return, clerks forked over piles of cash.

“They didn’t even bother to try to mask anything,” one investigator pointed out.

Defendants have been charged with crimes including Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree and Misuse of Food Stamps, Food Stamp Coupons, Authorization Cards or Electronic Access Devices, both of which are Class “D” felonies punishable by up to seven years in prison. Other defendants have been charged with petit larceny and Third Degree Grand Larceny counts.

If convicted, the SNAP recipients will lose access to the program for a year. Repeat offenders and those who defrauded the program of over five hundred dollars in benefits are subject to permanent disqualification from the program.

SNAP BENEFIT DEFENDANTS

Shafaqat Ali
54 Basswood Ct, New City, NY
Charges: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i)
Owner of Nyack Food Mart

Nissar Ahmed
112 Eckerson Road, Spring Valley, NY
Charges: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i)
Owner of Nyack Food Mart

Balbir Singh
3 Waldron Ave, Central Nyack, New York
Charges: 2 Counts: Petit Larceny P.L. §155.25 and 2 Counts Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a).

STORE CLERKS

Muneer Khan
124 Grandview Ave, Nanuet, New York
Charges: Petit Larceny P.L. §155.25 and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a).

Kusum Joshi
3 Waldron Ave, Central Nyack, New York
Charges: Petit Larceny P.L. §155.25 and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a).

Kavender Joshi
3 Waldron Ave, Central Nyack, New York
Charges: Petit Larceny P.L. §155.25 and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a).

Ansar Haniffa
15 W. Funston Ave #209, Spring Valley, New York
Charges: 2 Counts: Petit Larceny P.L. §155.25 and 2 Counts: Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a).

SNAP BENEFIT CLIENTS

Edward Beauchard
3 Gesner Drive,Spring Valley, NY
Charged with: Petit Larceny P.L. §155.25 and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a) $326.00

Donnie Broadnax
1 Collins Avenue, Spring Valley, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $1,033.00

Eric Brown DOB
22 Dickerson Street, Apt 1, Nyack, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $1,973.00

Gale Calhoun
260 N. Main Street, Apt. B41, Spring Valley, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $3,634.42

Sheila Cash a/k/a Sheila Brooks
60 East Eckerson Road, Spring Valley, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $4,119.01
Defendant was arraigned in Clarkstown Justice Court on 6/19/13

SNAP BENEFIT DEFENDANTS

Melissa Castillo
38 Pine Street, Nyack, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $1,917.50

Joan Christopher
38 Pine Street, Nyack, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $6,428.08

Michael Coyle
156 North Liberty Drive, Stony Point, NY
Charged with: Petit Larceny and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a) $749.00

Jennifer Delbiondo
7 Sherri Lane, Spring Valley, NY
Indicted on: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $3,700.25

Maxine Hansen
88 Fox Hollow Road, Rhinebeck, New York
Charged with: Petit Larceny and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a) $781.00

Ebens Louis
112 Clinton Street, Nyack, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $1,039.00

Michelle Louis-Jean
116 Fairview Ave, Spring Valley, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $2,183.00

Terance Maurice
109 West Main Street, Stony Point, NY
Charged with: Petit Larceny and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a) $557.00

Lawrence Mulqueen
66 Freedman Avenue, Nanuet, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $1786.00

Mayra Munoz
88 Stockton Rd, Valley Cottage, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $3,415.46

Murali Panchacharam
1 Wyndham Ct, Nanuet, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $1,801.00

Nyisha Peterson
10 Highview Ct, Central Nyack, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $3,282.35

SNAP BENEFIT DEFENDANTS

Haydee Rodriguez
5 Keith Drive, Monsey, NY
Charged with: Petit Larceny and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a) $829.91

Catherine Sisco
DOB: 2/23/58
32 Highview Ct, Central Nyack, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $4,230.45

Adrienne Teachey
DOB: 2/1/75
244 Main Street, Spring Valley, NY
Charged with: Petit Larceny and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a) $491.00

Shameta Williams
DOB: 2/10/77
36 South Broadway #2E, Nyack, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 3rd and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(ii) $5,575.75

Robert Hicks
DOB: 5/10/58
Undomiciled
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $2037.00

Samuel Sisco
48 South Madison Ave, Spring Valley, NY
Charged with: Grand Larceny 4th and Misuse of Food Stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards and electronic access devices SSL §147(1)(a)(i) $1,304.70