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SNAP Sublet

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Uttam Halder had owned and operated a meat market in Atlanta called Big Daddy’s Discount Meat. Sign me up. Halder enrolled his store as a retailer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP program back in 2014. And during the following six years, Big Daddy’s Discount Meats EBT terminals raked in more than $12.5 million in SNAP benefits. In comparison, other meat markets in the area collected $10 million less in SNAP benefits on average during the same time period. And if someone from the Department of Agriculture had actually stopped by the shop to present a first-place trophy, they would have found those terminals missing.

For five years, from 2015 to 2020, Halder “loaned” his EBT terminals to two other stores, Food World and Big Brother Mini Supermarket. Two co-conspirators, who operated the other grocery stores that were not enrolled as SNAP retailers, agreed to share with Halder the profits from using Big Daddy’s terminals illegally at their stores. They also made cash payments to customers in return for redeeming their SNAP benefits at a rate of $0.50 per dollar. Easy to see how they outpaced the other stores in the area.
Subletting is against SNAP rules. At his trial, Halder’s attorney, Howard J. Weintraub, actually argued that Halder didn’t benefit from the scheme because his portion of the profits went toward supporting his parents and three siblings in India. Please don’t use U.S. taxpayers’ money to do that.

On March 22, 2024, Halder was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of failure to appear in court. He must also pay $10,340,986 in restitution.

Shout out to the foreign authorities who found Halder hiding in Turkey.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Meat market owner fled US over $10M food stamp fraud, feds say. Now, he’s sentenced” published by The Miami Herald on March 22, 2024.

An Atlanta meat market owner tried defrauding the U.S. government in a $10 million food stamp scheme, then fled the country to avoid prosecution, federal officials said.

Uttam Halder, who owned Big Daddy’s Discount Meat — a now permanently closed butcher shop — was arrested in January 2021 and released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, court records show. Then he left the U.S. for Mexico in late 2022 in violation of his release conditions, according to prosecutors. As fugitive, his whereabouts were unknown until authorities in Turkey caught him trying to enter Istanbul with a fake Mexican passport in June, prosecutors said.

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