Buffalo Deli Owner Indicted On Welfare Fraud Charges

Modified: August 29, 2016 10:14pm

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Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that 37-year-old Ahmed Alshami of Buffalo has been arraigned before Erie County Court Judge David Foley on an indictment charging him with Criminal Possession of Public Benefit Cards in the Second Degree, Misuse of Food Stamps and Criminal Use of a Public Benefit Card in the First Degree for defrauding the welfare system. 

The defendant is the owner/operator of IGA Express Mart, a corner deli located at 271 Ludington in the City of Buffalo.  

Between October 9, 2014 and March 21, 2016, it is alleged that the defendant would buy EBT (food stamp) cards from individuals willing to accept cash for them and typically paid half the amount of their worth.

It is alleged the purchased food stamps would then be used to fund shopping trips, in which Alshami would purchase items to be sold in his store.

In some instances, it is alleged the defendant would instruct the original card holder to go to Tops, Wegman’s, Walmart, or another “big box” store and purchase items he could resell in his store.  

The transactions totaled $3,811.56.  

Alshami was also indicted on a charge of Burglary in the Third Degree.

On March 16, 2016, it is alleged the defendant knowingly and unlawfully entered 37 Davey St., an unoccupied rental property, and stole the kitchen cabinets, hot water tank and baseboard heating units.

Acting DA Flaherty commends the United StatesDepartment of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, Erie County Department of Social Services, New York State Police Special Investigations Unit Buffalo, under the direction of Major Robert C. Gregory and Buffalo Police Department for their thorough investigative work. 

Alshami pleaded not guilty and Judge Foley remanded him to jail on $2,000,000 bail.

Assistant District Attorneys James R. Gardner and Gary M. Ertel of acting DA Flaherty’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Bureau are prosecuting the case.

As are all defendants accused of a crime, Alshami is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.