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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The owner of a Buffalo deli is being held on $2 million bail for welfare fraud charges.
Ahmed Alshami, 37, is charged with criminal possession of public benefit cards, misuse of food stamps and criminal use of a public benefit card for defrauding the welfare system.
Alshami is the owner and operator of IGA Express Mart, a corner deli at 271 Ludington in the City of Buffalo.
According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, between October 9, 2014 and March 21, 2016 Alshami is accused of buying EBT (food stamp) cards from people willing to trade them for cash. He usually paid people half of what the cards are worth.
It is alleged that Alshami would use the food stamps to buy items to be sold in his store. In some instances, it is alleged the defendant would tell the original card holder to go to Tops, Wegmans, Walmart, or another "big box" store and buy the items for him.
The purchases totaled $3,811.56.
The DA's Office also says on March 16 of this year, Alshami allegedly knowingly and unlawfully entered an unoccupied rental property at 37 Davey St. He is accused of stealing the kitchen cabinets, hot water tank and baseboard heating units.
Alshami pleaded not guilty to the misuse of food stamps and burglary charges.
Outside of court on Tuesday, his daughter flipped off our cameras while his wife said, "Are you happy now? F&*& you. F&*& America."