Local Grocer Bilks Food Stamps Program for $844,000

Khaled, along with his wife, Fatima Saleh acquired more than $844,000 paying customer approximately half the value in cash for goods purchased at other stores using their benefits.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    A former Waukegan grocer was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison Monday for defrauding government and nutrition programs.

    Khaled Saleh, 48, the owner of Sunset Food Market in Waukegan, Illinois was charged with illegally exchanging cash with customers using food stamp cards and nutrition coupons during an undercover investigation.

    Khaled was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle.

    Khaled, along with his wife, Fatima Saleh, 37, acquired more than $844,000 paying customers approximately half the value in cash for goods purchased at other stores using their benefits. They then re-sold the same items in their store at a substantially higher price.

    During the investigation, an agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, exchanged food stamp benefits for cash and used benefits to purchase formula at a discount store, which he then re-sold for half the price in cash to the Salehs on several occasions.

    The couple was arrested in May 2011 and both pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to defraud government programs.

    The government forfeited $391,616 in cash and bank account funds that were seized from the Salehs, and Khaled was ordered to pay $453,013 in restitution for the remaining balance.

    Sentencing for Fatima Saleh has been postponed to March 22.