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Store Owner From Teaneck Gets 3 Years In Fed Pen For Pocketing In $750,000 Food Vouchers

SNAP Photo Credit: COLLAGE: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture / U.S. Air Force (Airman 1st Class Grace Lee)

A Newark store owner from Teaneck who was captured after fleeing the country was sentenced Thursday to 37 months in federal prison for scamming the government out of more than $750,000 in a food voucher scam.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian R. Martinotti also sentenced Jamil Bader, 60, to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $754,424.

Bader put a small grocery store that he owned on Clinton Avenue in Newark in another person’s name because he’d been banned from participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because of similar wrongdoing, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

This summer, Bader told a federal judge in Newark that he “repeatedly exchanged SNAP benefits for cash and kept a portion of the proceeds for himself,” Carpenito said.

Bader “also admitted fleeing from the United States and obtaining a foreign passport in an effort to avoid these criminal charges,” the U.S. attorney said.

Bader cut a deal with the government in exchange for his sentence. He'll have to serve all of it: There's no parole in the federal prison system.

Recipients of SNAP -- formerly known as the Food Stamp Program -- receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, similar to a debit card, with which to make purchases. Every retailer authorized to accept SNAP benefits has an EBT terminal. Food purchases are made by swiping the card at the terminal.

After the customer enters a PIN number, the terminal verifies it, determines whether the customer’s balance covers the proposed transaction and informs the retailer whether the transaction should be authorized or denied.

The amount of the purchase is deducted electronically from the SNAP benefits reserved for the customer and the amount is credited to the retailer’s designated bank account.

Carpenito credited special agents of the United States Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General with the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Barnes of his Criminal Division in Newark.

He also thanked the U.S. Marshal’s Service and ICE for their assistance.

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