A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.
Dhia Almaleki, 47, 418 Huron Street, Apt. 1, Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Dhia Almaleki and three co-defendants were engaged in exchanging food stamps for cash on a regular basis at The Lotto World, also known as Samir’s and Lotto World Convenience, a convenience store located at 832 State Street in Erie. The four defendants also allowed customers to pay off store credit with food stamps. Alquraishi was also using customers’ food stamp cards to buy items at various stores in the area. Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for April 19, 2018.
The law provides for a total sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Pending sentencing, the court continued Almaleki on bond.
Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government. The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the Erie Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Almaleki.
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