A federal judge ordered four Bangladeshi brothers convicted of food stamp fraud in Michigan to pay for newspaper ads in English and Bengali warning others not to commit food stamp fraud.
Judge Avern Cohn sentenced Ali Ahmed, the owner of the business, to nine months in prison and sentenced his three brothers— Nazar, Mustak, and Mohammed— to one day behind bars for their role in a food stamp fraud scheme where they exchanged cash, phone cards, and batteries for food stamps.
All were ordered to pay back the stolen money to the federal government.
But the judge had an additional punishment for the convicted food stamp fraudsters, ordering the four men to purchase an ad in a local Michigan newspaper in English and in Bengali warning them not to commit food stamp fraud.
“To readers, listen to us. If you cheat on food stamps you are committing a crime and will be punished for doing so. We know: We have been punished for cheating on food stamps,” states the ad, which will run in the Hamtramck Review for three weeks.
The judge also ordered all four men to attach their names to the ad.
Many convenience store owners have gotten themselves in serious trouble with the federal government for carrying out similar schemes where employees allowed SNAP users to trade their benefits for cash.
A Ghanian national was sentenced in April to eight months in prison for carrying out a $300,000 food stamp fraud scheme, and an Oregon minimart owner was sentenced to two years behind bars for orchestrating a $189,000 food stamp fraud scheme.