DETROIT (WWJ) – Federal agents say several people are facing fraud charges after a raid at Detroit’s Eastern Market yielded a handful of arrests over illegal use of Michigan’s Bridge Card.
United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said six people were arrested and nine have been charged following the two-day federal search and arrest warrant operation combating fraud against the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP).READ MORE: Ford Adding 450 Jobs To Meet Demand For New Electric Truck
Investigators say they targeted numerous retailers in Detroit’s Eastern Market Terminal, and other locations in the city, who have allegedly been engaging in the illegal practice of exchanging cash for food stamp benefits.
According to McQuade, the principal scheme allegedly involved individuals, known as “runners,” who would obtain Bridge Cards from food stamp recipients and take them to various stores in Eastern Market to conduct fraudulent discounting transactions.
Investigators say the illegal transactions totaled millions of dollars during the past year alone.
“Taxpayers in Michigan fund the Food Stamp Program to provide food for the needy, not to create a commodity to be traded for profit,” McQuade said in a statement. “We will work to ensure that food assistance programs are not abused.”
The following individuals and Detroit establishments were subjects of the warrants:
- Ronnie’s Quality Meats, 1429 Gratiot Avenue
- Embassy Foods, 2478 Riopelle Street
- Ftoni Meat & Produce, 2800 Riopelle Street
- Detroit Wholesale Produce, 2614 Riopelle Street
- Dayton Market, 8002 Dayton Street
- Cheech’s Chicken Company, 1429 Gratiot Avenue
— Frank Paul Buonbrisco, resident of Saint Clair Shores, Eric Lamont Owensby, resident of Romulus, and Damon Keith Ownensby, resident of Detroit, , all managers of Cheech’s Chicken Company were arrested on criminal complaints charging them with SNAP Fraud.READ MORE: Michigan TV Weatherman Out After Refusing To Get Vaccine
- Gratiot Produce & Grocery Inc., 1429 Gratiot Avenue.
— Rassoul Ali Jamil, owner of Gratiot Produce & Grocery, and resident of Dearborn, has been named in a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.
- Greg’s Pallet Company, 1483 Winder Street.
— Greg King, resident of Detroit, and owner of Greg’s Pallet Company was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP fraud, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
- Campus Diner, 5470 Cass Avenue
— Anton Vuljaj, resident of Waterford and Owner of Campus Diner, was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.
- Mike’s K&G Deli, 15500 East Warren Avenue
— Ghassan Ghazi Shamoon, resident of Livonia and former Manager of Mike’s K&G Deli, was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.
- Dayton Market, 8002 Dayton Street
— Waleed Hindo, manager of Dayton Market, resident of Inkster, was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP fraud.
- Christopher Stanley Jackson, resident of Detroit, and employee of the Eastern Market Terminal, has been named in a criminal complaint charging him with SNAP Fraud.
“Taxpayers fund food stamps as a benefit to those who need assistance,” William Hayes, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Detroit, said in a statement. “When unscrupulous business owners take advantage of these benefits for their own profit, the taxpayer is cheated and the individuals who really need the help also suffer.”MORE NEWS: MDOT Update: Ramp Closures On I-94, I-275 As Part Of Rebuilding I-275 Project