2 Brooklyn Men Are Accused of Stealing $20 Million in SNAP Benefits; Arrested

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York has recently announced the arrest of two individuals from Brooklyn, involved in a significant defrauding scheme against the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The accused, Dawood Kassim, 31, known also as “Badr al-din Kassim,” and Dia Alqalisi, 26, with the alias “Diaaldeen Alqalisi,” face charges related to the trafficking and theft of millions of dollars worth of SNAP benefits.

These arrests came to light on February 27, uncovering an extensive fraudulent operation that siphoned off an estimated $20 million from SNAP, a crucial federal assistance program aimed at aiding low-income families in buying nutritious food.

The illicit activities spearheaded by Kassim and Alqalisi were primarily conducted through a bodega owned by Kassim in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area, involving numerous illegal transactions under the guise of SNAP.

United States Attorney Breon Peace highlighted the severity of the charges, condemning the exploitation of a system designed to support those grappling with high food costs. He asserted that the defendants’ actions constituted a significant betrayal of public trust and underlined the arrest as a clear warning against the fraudulent use of government aid programs.

According to the allegations, from April to December 2022, the duo engaged in fraudulent dealings at the Throop Farm Market, situated at the intersection of Throop and Greene Avenues.

They reportedly allowed customers to trade their SNAP benefits for cash or other ineligible goods, pocketing a fraction of the benefits for themselves. This act not only undermines the integrity of the SNAP system but also diverts crucial resources away from those genuinely in need.

Kassim is additionally accused of manipulating the SNAP program by using fake and stolen SNAP EBT cards to extract benefits directly from unsuspecting users, affecting individuals across multiple states including Tennessee, Virginia, and California.

This manipulation has led to the illegal acquisition of over $20 million in benefits, a significant portion of which was from individuals residing outside New York, showcasing the vast impact of their fraudulent activities.

The SNAP program, backed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), relies on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system to provide food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. In light of rising food prices and economic uncertainties, SNAP serves as a vital resource for millions of Americans, making the alleged fraud particularly egregious.

This case underscores the critical need for rigorous oversight and preventive measures within federal assistance programs. As investigations continue and Kassim and Alqalisi face the consequences of their alleged actions, the incident serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of maintaining the integrity and trust in systems designed to aid the most vulnerable populations in society.

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