Connecticut man sentenced for defrauding the Federal Food Stamp Program

March 12th, 2010 - 6:03 am ICT by BNO News  

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT (BNO NEWS) – A Connecticut man was sentenced for defrauding the Federal Food Stamp Program, prosecutors said Thursday.

Manilal Joitaram Patel, 57, of Hamden, Connecticut and Sadavi Mini Mart, which he owned and operated, defrauded the Federal Food Stamp Program (FSP) of $328,525.19 by accepting FSP benefits in exchange for cash or ineligible items.

The mini mart, located in New Haven, began to participate in the Federal Food Stamp Program as most edible items, or “staple foods,” are eligible for purchase with FSP benefits. Several items like beer, cigarettes, paper goods, and soaps are not eligible for purchase with food stamp benefits, which is a serious violation.

In addition, FSP benefits may not lawfully be exchanged for cash under any circumstances, but in late 2007, an individual working with USDA investigators visited Sadavi Mini Mart on seven separate occasions, exchanging food stamp benefits valued at approximately $1355 in exchange for approximately $708 in cash, and a combination of eligible and ineligible items including cigarettes and a prepaid telephone card.

Patel was sentenced to five years of probation, the first 12 months of which he must in home confinement with electronic monitoring, and was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $25,000. He was also instructed to pay full restitution to the Government, of which he was already submitted $120,000.

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