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Detroit party store owner and employees charged with food stamp fraud

Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced he has charged three Southeast Michigan residents with felony counts of racketeering, conspiracy, and food stamp fraud for their roles in an alleged $262,000 food stamp fraud operation at Schaefer Dollar Mania in Detroit. The charges result from a joint investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police Bridge Card Enforcement Team and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General.

“Food stamp fraud is theft from Michigan families who are struggling to put food on the table,” said Schuette. “We will continue to work with law enforcement across the state to find and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse – Michigan taxpayers deserve nothing less.”

 

From January 2011 through September 2011, it is alleged that the owner of Schaefer Dollar Mania (13445 Schaefer, Detroit), Dani Mohamed-Kama Itani, 37, of Canton, and two of his employees allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for products that did not qualify for purchase through the program. Investigation by the Michigan State Police revealed alleged purchases of ineligible items with SNAP funds, including clothing, electronics and watches. The estimated total value of the fraudulent purchases allegedly made from Schafer Dollar Mania is $262,000. The employees who processed the fraudulent transactions include: store manager Hassan Raychoini, 54, of Dearborn Heights, and Raed Youseff, 22, of Dearborn.

The charges against the following defendants have been filed by Schuette’s office with Detroit’s 36th District Court:

  • Dani Mohamed-Kama Itani
    • One Count of Conducting Criminal Enterprise (Racketeering), a 20 year felony;
    • One Count of Conspiracy to Conduct Criminal Enterprise, a 20 year felony; and
    • One Count of Food Stamp Fraud over $1,000, a 10 year felony.
  • Hassan Raychouni
    • One Count of Conducting Criminal Enterprise (Racketeering), a 20 year felony;
    • One Count of Conspiracy to Conduct Criminal Enterprise, a 20 year felony; and
    • One Count of Food Stamp Fraud over $1,000, a 10 year felony.
  • Raed Yousef
    • One Count of Conducting Criminal Enterprise (Racketeering), a 20 year felony;
    • One Count of Conspiracy to Conduct Criminal Enterprise, a 20 year felony; and
    • One Count of Food Stamp Fraud over $1,000, a 10 year felony.
  • Schaefer Dollar Mania
    • One Count of Racketeering (Conducting Criminal Enterprises), a 20 year felony; and
    • One Count of Food Stamp Fraud over $1,000, a 10 year felony.

All three defendants were arrested by the Michigan State Police on March 7, 2012. The defendants were arraigned on March 8, 2012 in Detroit’s 36th District Court by Magistrate Laura Echartea and bond for each was set at $5,000 cash/surety – 10%. The defendants are next due in court for a preliminary examination on March 20, 2012.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

 

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