Two Brook Park men plead guilty to $2 million in food stamp fraud

CLEVELAND - Two men who defrauded the food stamp program out of $2 million pleaded guilty in court Monday.

Saed (Sam) Wahdan, 41, and his brother, Maher (Mario) Wahdan, 42, both of Brook Park, accepted food stamps at four Cleveland stores for ineligible items, such as beer and cigarettes, according to Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The Wahdans and others conspired to commit the fraud between January 2008 and March 2012. During this time, they also purchased food stamp cards from customers to buy inventory for their stories and personal use.

Each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, one count of food stamp fraud and two counts of unlawful redemption of food stamps. Maher Wahdan also pleaded guilty to an addition count of theft of public funds.

Nidal Jaber, 45, also of Brook Park, was also indicted for his role in the crime. His charges are pending.

The Wahdans put the stores in the names of other people, even though they owned and operated the stores, to conceal past convictions. Court documents show Saed Wahdan holds a prior conviction for food stamp trafficking while Maher Wahdan was previously convicted for impersonating an officer.

Both Saed and Maher Wahdan will be sentenced April 24, 2014.

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