Florida Food Stamp Scam: How Did Convenience Store Use $88,000 Of EBT To Stock Shelves?
A Florida food stamp scam was busted on Monday following a three-month investigation on the 4M Food Mart located in Daytona Beach. According to authorities, the convenience store used taxpayer money to stock their own shelves.
Bassam Sale Abu Diab, 55, and his son, Matthew Bassam Abu Diab, 22, were arrested on Monday for allegedly buying EBT cards at deeply discounted prices from low-income sellers desperate for hard cash. EBT cards were purchased for as low as 20 to 40 cents on the dollar. Diab could obtain a $500 EBT card for just $200 before purchasing his own supplies at Walmart and Save-A-Lot stores.
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In total, authorities estimate that the Diabs have made off with at least $88,000 in EBT transaction. What's more, father Bassam Sale Abu Diab has been previously charged for operating an illegal pawn shop within the store.
"This guy is running a business on the taxpayers' back," said Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood following Bassam Sale Abu Diab and his son Matthew Bassam Abu Diab's arrest. "It's a fraud. He's unscrupulous and clearly he didn't learn from the last time we hit the store."
While a brief 3-month investigation was enough to take down Diab's Daytona Beach convenience store, the government estimates that at least 1,400 stores nationwide regularly conduct similar illegal food stamp card for cash exchanges. Enforcement hopes to better tackle the problem via data-sharing agreements with several states. The information can better track and halt the improper use of government-subsidized benefits.
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