MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The owner of a St. Paul market was indicted in Minneapolis Federal Court Wednesday for trafficking about $3 million in food stamps, according to court documents.

Khaffak Sahib Ansari, 45 of Arden Hills, was charged Wednesday with three counts of food stamp fraud in connection with the crime. Ansari had owned the Stryker Avenue Market in St. Paul.

The indictment alleges that between January 2006 and Oct. 7, 2010, Ansari exchanged food stamps for money and ineligible merchandise.

The USDA authorized his market to accept food stamps in 1998, and Ansari told authorities that he attended retailer orientation and understood the rules behind food stamps. Every person who receives food stamps gets an electronic card which contains monthly allocated funds that can be used at authorized stores.

The USDA reimburses stores for that money, but only if it’s used to buy eligible items. Those do not include alcohol, tobacco and cell phone products. Food stamps also cannot be redeemed for cash.

Inspectors began investigating the Stryker Avenue Market in 2008. It was discovered that on several occasions, Ansari allegedly exchanged food stamps for cash and ineligible items. One count in the indictment alleges that on July 16, 2008, Ansari swiped a food stamps card for $401, and gave the person back $200 in cash.

Court documents also listed that between 2004 and 2009, the average food stamp redemption for a store of similar size was just less than $324,000. Stryker’s redemptions during that time period came out to about $3.1 million.

If convicted, Ansari faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Comments (41)
  1. 56001 says:

    the statement ‘Those include alcohol, tobacco and cell phone products’ should be amended to say ‘those do not include alcohol, tobacco and cell phone products.’ Now my question is, why did they take so long to officially bust him?

    1. It does not include says:

      It does say “not include”

      The USDA reimburses stores for that money, but only if it’s used to buy eligible items. Those do not include alcohol, tobacco and cell phone products. Food stamps also cannot be redeemed for cash.

      1. :) says:

        They changed it. They did not have the “NOT” in the story before. I saw it too, Frankly I just have better thing do then edit WCCO’s stories for them.

  2. Swamp Rat says:

    The folks who redeemed their food stamps for fraudulent items should be tried also for defrauding the USDA food assistance program. They are just as guilty as the store owner!

    1. ARS says:

      I agree 100%. If they can identify some of the people who defrauded the state, they to should be serving time, and given a permanent ban on ever receiving welfare benefits again.

      1. Get a job morons says:

        I can’t stand welfare abusers.

  3. ARS says:

    Wow, such a stiff penalty for making millions off the state. Are you fricken kidding me? A maximum penalty of 5 years? For what he made this is nothing more than a simple slap on the wrist. He SHOULD be facing 5 years for EACH charge he is brought up on. This is why now days people aren’t really scared to take chances and break the law, our judicial system is a joke. We give people simple slaps on the wrist for major felony’s and send them on their way. We need to grow some balls and start hitting people with harsher penalties to make an example, and show in the future you will be punished. Giving this immigrant 5 years after he has made millions off the state illegally, is ridiculous.

    1. Immigrant crooks? says:

      Where does it say anyone involved here was an immigrant?

      1. Artist36 says:

        Look at the name idiot! ! ! !

        1. Immagrant crooks? says:

          You can’t be serious! My wife was born in the USA and so was her parents and there parents were as well and yet they have last names much like the names from this article. Look at the list of names of our elected officials and tell me how many are imigrants based on your foolish smarts.

          1. reality check says:

            U want us 2 believe there were muslims born her in the 40’s, i feel srry for you that you married 1

            1. Ahmad Shamad Abdi says:

              Come On Now Children! Play Nice! hahahaa

  4. Robin says:

    How about a complete overhaul of the food assistance program? Make sure that only those who are eligible receive this assistance. What about the jerk in Michigan who won $2M in the lottery but is still eligible for such programs?!? No wonder this country is in such bad shape!

    1. ARS says:

      Don’t even want to discuss the scammer in Michigan. He is clearl a man with no integrity or pride.
      And yes, this crap is a huge reason why our country is going bankrupt. We hand out food stamps and welfare to damn near anyone who asks for it. I have friends who between him and her combined, make about $57/hr, with no real major bills, and collect food stamps, I don’t know how, but somehow they get over $300/mth.
      Add in the fact that the Government also hands out SSI (Supplemental Security Income) to anyone with an ache or pain, and theirs 85% of why we are going bankrupt as a nation. To see these people getting SSI and Social Security for such absurd reasons is really ridiculous. I seen a woman, who receives over $1,900/mth in SSI, because she is stressed. Are you kidding? Seen another who was receiving over $1,200 /mth because he is a recovering alcoholic. So this man lives his life in the drunk tank, which HE did himself willingly, and now gets to collect more SSI than someone who actually needs it, because he decides to stop drinking. The reasons I have been seeing lately for people to be able to qualify and receive state and federal benefits is absolutely crazy. Our entire government at both the state AND federal levels need to be overhauled, badly.
      This stuff really makes me angry. Good, hard working people, who contribute on a weekly basis by paying taxes, are having to support all these dead beats who find any reason possible to get free benefits. And yet our Government is so idiotic, they are allowing all this to happen, sending not only our country into bankruptcy, but all those hard working people who are forced to keep supporting all these dead beat leeches.
      Our country is becoming the poster child of how NOT to do things. Even our education is a joke. Most probably don’t know, but of the 32 countries tested, the U.S. ranks 19th in education levels. And we wonder why we are losing all these jobs and such to overseas companies. Just another reason why we are going bankrupt, because our college kids who are the future of this country, are to busy partying and screwing off rather than doing as many of us did, and go to college to learn, and better ourselves, and our nation.
      It’s a sad day these days to even claim to be an American.

      1. BS says:

        Nothing but BS

    2. It is working says:

      They closed the “loop hole” today to prevent those who win the lottery to also get food stamps and any sort of public assitance as they should. It sound like it was not intentional that they left this loop hole in so that people can take advantage of our system. I don’t think we need a complete overhaul of the system.The Michigan incident and this incident was resolved so I guess it is working.

    3. Todd says:

      Yup, that burned me up. I would have to be in bad shape to use a EBT card (some pride please) and the first chance I had I would gladly give it up. I know there are a lot of folks who worked 20 years (ever seen the vacant lots on 7th street that used to be 3M that employed 1000’s) and now are forced to use them because of the deportatiion of manufacturing jobs overseas and I think they should get the help they need. Most of them would love to burn the dammed card if they could get work and then you have this idiot in MI who has no pride at all.

      The guy in this story: Jail em’ and deport him (if in fact he is an immigrant).

  5. veronica says:

    Actually they will be sanctioned for using their ebt benefits for illegal use. This store has been known for doing this. Crime does not pay and it only hurt other people that really need the program.

  6. Dave says:

    The wonderful contributions of 21st Century immigrants never cease.

    1. Immigrant crooks? says:

      Where does it say anyone is an immigrant?

    2. alex johnson says:

      Sad to say, its mostly blacks that have lived in the united states since birth. I know for a fact, I’m the one that turned them in.

  7. tuna-free dolphin says:

    Can you say deportation? Anyone want to make a little wager on this guy’s status? Me thinks he’s not a naturalized citizen. Just a wild guess. I’m volunteering to drive him to the airport and send him on his way back to mecca.

    1. Ahmad Shamad Abdi says:

      On Your Way Back Maybe U Can Pick Up My Cousin From The Airport! LOL

  8. Leavealready says:

    Had 2 make a delivery to a customer today, it was to exchange some products out, guess what the lady at the door said 2 me when i knocked? Me no speak english, I wanted to drop her on her face

    1. Juan Choo says:

      Maybe U Can Learn Espanish Or A Different Language My Frien! You Can Have A Good Job By Being Bi-Lingual Broskie!

      1. Mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

        @Juan Choo Learn English!!

        1. Orville says:

          @ Mark, Rusty or whatever confabulated name you go by with your delusions. Mr Choo post looks no different than reality check. You did not tell reality check to learn English.

          1. reality check says:

            Living walking rearend, I had zero spelling errors, i used 2 instead of to, comments are typed quickly i don’t go through punc. check before posting, if you can’t get the point then you’re as useless as Juan. The mutt at the door exact words were “me no speak english” I believe Mark was saying Juan could be a sport by learning the official language of the U.S. if he wants to pollute it with his presence

            1. Juan Choo says:

              @Mark Why Ju Get Mad At Me? I No Do Nothing To Ju I Jus Say Learn Espanish, and We Can All be Friends! I Love American Women! And I Love The Grate U.S Of A. Maybe We Can Be Friens and I Can Do Some Landscaping and Construction work. Or Maybe Ju Can Visit Any restaurant and Ju can Find A Frien Named Juan Jus Like Me!

              1. Juan Choo says:

                @Reality Check Ju Are A Joto! Look It Up On Google Translator Joto!

  9. Mark from mntaxwaste.com says:

    Muslim? Yep thought so

    1. Orville says:

      As you tell people to learn English perhaps you should learn to read. The piece says nothing of the man’s religion. What religion are you that shows so much hatred towards others? Do you go to soldier’s funerals and join with those that say he died because of gay people?

  10. Unbelievable says:

    The open forum allowed by WCCO here seems to draw in too many bigots who jump to their usual conclusions based on their own hatred against many. The story was about public assistance fraud. It was not about how fraud is spiraling out of control… it was not about immigrants who abuse the system… it was about how officials caught some who were abusing the system. It is “good news” that our officials have the means and ways to detect and apprehend those who abuse the system. Yet the comments here turned that into a nasty abuse of immigrants. Unbelievable.

  11. fred says:

    it`s nice that they waited until he racked up 3 million to arrest this guy. good luck getting any of that back……your tax dollars at work

    1. Yes, too bad says:

      I wonder why they cannot track the money and convict the others

  12. Put The Kool Aid Down says:

    More immgrants please!!!! Now all of you get your arses back to work! Someone has to pay for this Minnesota Nice Free For All……….is anyone gettiing this? Am I the only one in MN who is sick of wathching immigrants come here only to commit crimes or fail to assimulate? It makes me laugh when “they” say “MN needs diversity”. Really? WIll someone please (with a straight face) explain to me what I am getting out of this whole diversity thing? Liberals are funny little glitter throwers….they sing songs and hold hands and praise each other for diversity…..and when the song ends…they all jump in their SUV’s and drive to their little white neighborhood……has anyone been to Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka lately? Go there….you will see diversity. Any one been to Hopkins, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Plymouth, Ankoa, Chaska, or how about Maplewood? That is diverstiy…….see diversity is only real when it effects you. I live in Maplewood. My street 10 years ago was nearly all white. Today I am the only white person left. My street is all Hmoung. I see the S.W.A.T and police more than I see my extended family. My god study Europe! See how diversity has ruined it. See how nearly all countries in Europe have shut down immigration. Google Euopean no drive zones. Those are parts of the countries where non Muslims are not allowed. They say we are ten years behind Europe. So….buckle up Minnesota….and enjoy the ride…..

  13. tom allen says:

    and there will be more to come

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