9 indicted on charges of defrauding federal food program
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors announced on Friday that the owners of four Chicago area convenience stores — one of whom is a Chicago police officer — have been charged with scheming to defraud a food program that helps low-income mothers feed their children.
In a news release, the U.S. Attorneys office in Chicago said the owners and some employees defrauded the Women, Infants and Children program known as WIC. In the release, the three store owners and six employees of area convenience stores have been named in the 16-count indictment were charged fraud, allowed the WIC recipients to purchase items not covered by the program, often at inflated prices.
According to the indictment, the scheme was carried out for nearly a decade ending in 2019, and added up to many of the defendants fraudulently redeeming millions of dollars in WIC checks.
Among those indicted was Hassan Abdellatif, 33, of Chicago, who owns two stores in Chicago. He is also a Chicago police officer. Department spokesman Tom Ahern said Abdellatif has been relieved of his police powers.
Abdellatif was arrested Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Matthew McQuaid, told the Chicago Tribune that Abdellatif “did not commit fraud or steal WIC funds.”