Cleveland police get $1 million from scam

May 21, 2008 at 8:41 PM
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CLEVELAND, May 21 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Police Department has received $1 million forfeited by two brothers who ran a food stamp fraud operation.

Police Chief Michael McGrath said the money will be used to outfit police cruisers with gas-tank shields that would help prevent fires such as the one that killed an Ohio police officer last fall, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Wednesday.

The money is part of $2.5 million paid by brothers Sami and Amin Salem as a part of their plea bargain.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service received $125,000 from the plea bargain, and the Ohio Department of Public Safety got $100,000.

The Salems, who ran a grocery store, admitted to trading beer, cigarettes and cash for $7.7 million worth of food stamps and welfare vouchers.

They often traded the stamps, which are supposed to be for food, for 75 cents on the dollar and then redeemed the food stamps for full value, the newspaper said.

Amin Salem was sentenced to three years in prison. Sami Salem received a year in prison as part of a plea bargain in which he agreed to provide information to investigators about other cases.

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