Manchester store owner, dad, both of South Windsor, admit food-stamp fraud

·2 min read

May 10—The owner of the Mobil station and convenience store on Oakland Street in Manchester and his father pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to commit food stamp fraud by agreeing to exchange the benefits for cash, male enhancement pills, gasoline, and other ineligible items, federal authorities say.

The store owner, Javed Saeed, 52, and his father, Dastgir Saeed, 68, both of South Windsor, agreed to pay restitution totaling more than $211,000 as part of their plea agreements, U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery said in a statement.

Each man could theoretically face up to five years in prison when Judge Janet C. Hall sentences them, which is scheduled to occur Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court in New Haven, where they entered the guilty pleas Tuesday.

FOOD-STAMP FRAUD

DEFENDANTS: Javed Saeed, 52, and his father, Dastgir Saeed, 68, both of South Windsor

GUILTY PLEAS: Conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud

WHAT'S NEXT?: Both are to be sentenced Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court in New Haven. Each could theoretically face up to five years in prison. They have agreed to pay a total of more than $211,000 in restitution.

The written plea agreements that would ordinarily set forth the sentences recommended by federal guidelines weren't immediately available in online federal court records Tuesday.

Two former employees of the store pleaded guilty in related cases in the summer of 2020.

They are Mohammad F. Khan, whose first name has also been spelled "Mohammed" in official records, and Siddiq Chaudhary, both of South Windsor. Each of them pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud and conspiring to commit that crime. They are awaiting sentencing, scheduled for September.

The food-stamp program — now officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — uses federal tax money to improve the ability of low-income households to buy food, with the goal of helping them achieve better nutrition.

Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, cards have replaced stamps as the method of spending the benefits.

The benefits can be used at authorized retail stores — but not for prepared foods, vitamins, medicines, or non-food items, such as gasoline, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, or paper goods. They also can't legally be exchanged for cash.

Between January 2017 and January 2020, the Javed and Dastgir Saeed, Chaudhary, Khan, and others illegally allowed customers to redeem their food stamp benefits for cash and ineligible items, charging customers "a premium of nearly 50% for these transactions," authorities say.

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