July 18, 2018
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Jury finds halal market worker guilty of welfare benefits fraud

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
This is a June 2015 file photo of Ahram Halal Market on Forest Avenue in Portland.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

A jury found on Thursday found a Westbrook man guilty of conspiracy in a scheme to trade more than $1 million in federal food program benefits for cash at a Portland halal market, according to a federal prosecutor.

Abdulkareem Daham, 22, was convicted after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Portland of conspiracy to defraud the United States, according to U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank. Daham worked at the Ahram Halal Market owned by his brother Ali Ratib Daham, 40, also of Westbrook.

A sentencing date for the younger Daham has not been set.

According to court documents, from June 2011 through April 2016, the brothers gave cash to customers at the market in exchange for benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children plus a fee.

During that period, the market received more than $4 million in SNAP and WIC receipts, at least $1.4 million of which were obtained illegally, court documents said.

Abdulkareem Daham’s attorney, Peter Rodway of Portland, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The elder Daham pleaded guilty in November to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, money laundering and theft of government funds. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Both men face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge alone. The brothers are expected to be ordered to jointly pay $1.4 million in restitution.

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