Brooklyn Bodega Owners Indicted in $20M SNAP Fraud Scheme, Impacting Federal Benefits

 – New York – Homeland Newsw


Uncover the sophisticated SNAP fraud scheme orchestrated by Dawood Kassim and Dia Alqalisi, how law enforcement responded, and the broader implications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and public welfare programs.

Brooklyn Bodega Owners Indicted in $20M SNAP Fraud Scheme, Impacting Federal Benefits
Brooklyn Bodega Owners Indicted in $20M SNAP Fraud Scheme, Impacting Federal Benefits

In a striking blow to the integrity of federal assistance programs, Dawood Kassim, 31, and Dia Alqalisi, 26, stand accused of masterminding a fraudulent operation that siphoned over $20 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Their base of operations, Throop Farm Market in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City, became the epicenter of thousands of illegal transactions, exploiting the lifeline meant for the needy.

Between April and December 2022, Kassim and Alqalisi allegedly manipulated the SNAP system, engaging in illicit exchanges of benefits for cash and ineligible items, all the while profiting from the federally funded program. The duo’s fraudulent activities were not only sophisticated but extensive, affecting SNAP recipients far beyond New York, with more than $7 million in benefits stolen from accounts of individuals residing in other states. The breakthrough in the case came through diligent surveillance and an undercover operation, culminating in a transaction that blatantly misused SNAP benefits for beer and cash, spotlighting the egregious nature of the fraud.

Law Enforcement’s Response

The investigation’s momentum peaked in December 2022 when authorities conducted a raid on Throop Farm Market. The seizure of EBT terminals, cash, and potential counterfeit EBT cards from the premises underscored the operation’s magnitude. This decisive action by law enforcement not only disrupted the ongoing fraudulent activities but also highlighted the vulnerabilities within the SNAP system, prompting a reevaluation of its security measures.

Impact on Victims and Systemic Vulnerabilities

The repercussions of this fraud scheme extend beyond the financial losses incurred by the federal government. Many victims, deprived of their rightful benefits, faced significant hardships, with some reporting an inability to recover their stolen assistance. The case has ignited a broader discussion on the need for strengthened oversight and protection mechanisms within the SNAP system to prevent such exploitation in the future.

As the legal proceedings against Kassim and Alqalisi unfold, the case serves as a stark reminder of the potential for abuse within welfare programs and the importance of vigilance and integrity in safeguarding public resources. The ramifications of this scheme are likely to influence policy discussions and operational protocols within SNAP, aiming to fortify the program against such vulnerabilities.

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