via Man in $3.8M food stamp fraud case sentenced | www.daytondailynews.com.
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Al-Idu Al-Gaheem to one year and one day in prison for his role in a scheme that bilked $3.8 million from the federal food stamp program.
Al-Gaheem, the former owner of two Dayton View businesses and the imam of Masjid At-Taqwa mosque, was the second of four defendants to be sentenced in the case. All four defendants have pleaded guilty.
Al-Gaheem faced as many as four years in prison after he pleaded guilty in August to felony charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, food stamp trafficking and structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements.
Al-Gaheem, who previously was named Lawrence Phillips, was the owner of Five Pillars Market, 1263 W. Riverview Ave., and Riverview Cell & Cup of Dreams, 512 N. Broadway St.
Al-Gaheem worked and conspired with Abdul Yamini Sr., Abdul Qadir and Omar Yahya to defraud the food-assistance program. The men illegally paid customers 50 cents in cash for every $1 in food stamp benefits they redeemed.
Undercover law enforcement agents caught the defendants illegally trading cash for food stamp benefits and buying and selling products that are ineligible through the program, such as counterfeit clothing and firearms.
Authorities estimate that more than 1,000 transactions took place at Five Pillars Market that involved the illegal exchange of food benefits. The federal government deposited about $3.8 million into bank accounts controlled by Al-Gaheem and others as reimbursement for food benefits redeemed at Five Pillars.
Al-Gaheem repeatedly withdrew large amounts of cash from the bank account, but he always took out sums that were just less than the threshold that requires the filing of federal financial reports.