Local Business Owner Indicted On Welfare Fraud (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch

April 5, 2013 Updated Nov 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- A Fort Wayne man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for welfare fraud.

According to court documents, 41-year old Ayad Al-Shaibani ran the Calhoun Market on South Calhoun St. which accepted SNAP benefits.

The primary form of SNAP benefits are Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) devices such as a card, similar to a debit card. In Indiana, the cards are called "Hoosier Works".

A store owner is required to complete, sign and submit to the Food and Nutrition Service a USDA Food Stamp Program Application. Upon completion of the application process, qualified store owners are authorized by USDA to redeem SNAP benefits in exchange for eligible food items.

While filling out the application for SNAP, Shaibani estimated his total annual sales for his grocery store were $24,000. Calhoun Market was approved to accept SNAP benefits in 2007.

From June 2007 until December 2012, a 5.5 year period, more than $2.2 million, from EBT redemptions, was deposited in Shaibani's bank account. This is more than the $24,000 per year that accounts for the annual sales Shaibani estimated the market brought in.

He's asking for a court appointed attorney.

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