January 17, 2013

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Nyack store owner, clerks charged with food stamp fraud

NEW CITY – Two Nyack store owners and several clerks have been charged in connection with the fraudulent use of the food stamp program.

According to court documents, Nissar Ahmed, 59, and Shafaqat Ali, 46, owners of the Nyack Food Mart at 4 Waldron Avenue, and several store clerks were engaged in a scheme to unlawfully exchange food stamps for cash.

Low-income individuals enrolled in the joint federal-state program are only allowed to purchase eligible items with the use of electronic benefit transfer cards they are given, such as milk, break and eggs. They are not permitted to purchase items such as alcohol and cigarettes and they are not allowed to obtain cash from merchants in exchange for food stamp benefits.

According to the charges, Ahmed, Ali and the others would permit individuals to use their government-issued debit cards to receive cash back and/or purchase alcohol, cigarettes and other prohibited items totaling $1,402.

Also charged in the scheme were Kusum Joshi, 48, of Nyack; Ansar Haniffa, 72, of Spring Valley; Balbir Singh, 62, of Nyack; Kavender Joshi, 50, of Nyack; and Muneer Khan, 28, of Nanuet.

They were charged variously with felony grand larceny and misuse of food stamps, food stamp program coupons, authorization cards or electronic access devices, also a felony. Both are punishable by up to four years in state prison, and petit larceny, which is punishable by up to one year in jail, if convicted.

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