BROOK PARK, Ohio - Three Brook Park men have been indicted for defrauding the food stamp program out of $2 million at four Cleveland stores.
The United States Attorney's Office of Northern Ohio said brothers Saed and Maher Wahdan, along with the help of Nidal Jaber, accepted food stamps for ineligible items like beer and cigarettes.
All three men have been indicted on counts of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, food stamp fraud and unlawful redemption of food stamps.
U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach said that attempts will be made to recover stolen money.
"The food stamp program has provided nutritious food to thousands of hungry families over the years," he said. "We will continue to work to recover money stolen from the program and eradicate waste, fraud and abuse of government programs."
Between January 2008 and March 2012, the three men attempted to commit more than $2 million in food-stamp fraud through four of their businesses that were held under different names to conceal Saed Wahdan's prior food stamp convictions, authorities said. Those stores were One Stop Beverage, 5105 Franklin Blvd.; Bridge Deli and Beverage, 4700 Bridge Ave.; Franklin Beverage and Deli, 4719 Franklin Blvd., and Scott Food Mart, 951 Linn Drive.
The three men used their businesses to exchange customer food stamps for cash and other unauthorized items. They also bought food stamp cards from customers to use at other grocery locations to get inventory for their stores and for their personal use, according to the indictment.
The indictment seeks to forfeit the businesses run by the Wahdans.