Newark, N.J. – A Bergen County man admitted today that he stole more than $750,000 from the U.S. Government through a scheme to exchange government benefits for cash, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jamil Bader, 60, of Teaneck, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as the food stamp program) fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Every SNAP recipient receives an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, similar to a debit card, with which to make purchases. Every retailer authorized to accept SNAP benefits has an EBT terminal. Food purchases are made by swiping the card at the terminal. After the customer enters a Personal Identification Number (PIN), the EBT terminal verifies the PIN, determines whether the customer’s account balance is sufficient to cover the transaction and informs the retailer whether the transaction should be authorized or declined. If the transaction is authorized, the amount of the purchase is then deducted from the SNAP benefits reserved for the customer, and the amount is credited to the retailer’s designated bank account.
Bader admitted that he controlled a small grocery store that was located on Clinton Avenue in Newark, New Jersey between September 2013 and September 2016. Bader acknowledged placing this store in another person’s name because he had previously been banned from participation in SNAP for similar conduct. Bader admitted that he repeatedly exchanged SNAP benefits for cash and kept a portion of the proceeds for himself. Bader acknowledged that this scheme caused at least $754,424 in losses to the federal government. Bader also admitted fleeing from the United States and obtaining a foreign passport in an effort to avoid these criminal charges.
The SNAP benefits charge carries a maximum penalty of twenty years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for November 7, 2019.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. The U.S. Attorney also thanked the United States Marshal’s Service, under the direction of U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos in Newark, and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, for their assistance with Bader’s apprehension and return to New Jersey.
The government is represented by Special Assistant United States Attorney Shawn Barnes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.