Federal authorities are charging nine people with food stamp fraud in Detroit.
Federal and state law enforcement agencies swooped down onto more than a half-dozen businesses in Detroit’s popular Eastern Market area earlier this week.
They were looking for evidence that retailers were engaging in the illegal practice of exchanging cash for food stamp benefits.
Federal prosecutors allege a number of the cases involved individuals, known as “runners," who would obtain food stamp recipients’ Bridge Cards, and take them to various stores in around Eastern Market to conduct fraudulent transactions.
Prosecutors claim these transactions totaled millions of dollars during the past year.
Several store owners, managers and employees now face federal fraud charges.
"Taxpayers in Michigan fund the Food Stamp Program to provide food for the needy, not to create a commodity to be traded for profit," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. "We will work to ensure that food assistance programs are not abused."
Here's a list of the stores where warrants were served:
Ronnie’s Quality Meats, 1429 Gratiot Avenue;
Embassy Foods, 2478 Riopelle Street;
Ftoni Meat & Produce, 2800 Riopelle Street;
Detroit Wholesale Produce, 2614 Riopelle Street;
Dayton Market, 8002 Dayton Street.
And here's a list of the people charged:
Cheech’s Chicken Company, 1429 Gratiot Avenue. Frank Paul Buonbrisco, Eric Lamont Owensby and Damon Keith Owensby, all managers of Cheech’s Chicken Company were arrested on criminal complaints charging them with SNAP Fraud.
Gratiot Produce & Grocery Inc., 1429 Gratiot Avenue. Rassoul Ali Jamil, owner of Gratiot Produce & Grocery, and resident of Dearborn, has been named in a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.
Greg’s Pallet Company, 1483 Winder Street. Greg King and owner of Greg’s Pallet Company was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP fraud, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Campus Diner, 5470 Cass Avenue. Anton Vuljaj, owner of Campus Diner, was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.
Mike’s K&G Deli, 15500 East Warren Avenue. Ghassan Ghazi Shamoon, former Manager of Mike’s K&G Deli, was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.
Dayton Market, 8002 Dayton Street. Waleed Hindo, manager of Dayton Market, was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP fraud.
Christopher Stanley Jackson, an employee of the Eastern Market Terminal, has been named in a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.