COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal grand jury has charged Hassan and Abdurahim Nuriso, owners of the Somali specialty market Towfiq Market on Sullivant Avenue, with conspiring to commit food stamp and WIC fraud. The brothers redeemed more than $10 million in SNAP and WIC benefits at their store between 2010 and 2019.
As part of the alleged conspiracy, brothers Hassan and Abdurahim Nuriso converted illegally obtained food stamp benefits, WIC coupons and WIC electronic benefits into money, in order to use the money for other purposes.
The five-count indictment filed today also alleges the defendants allowed SNAP and WIC beneficiaries to purchase items that were not redeemable through the food stamp or WIC programs.
In total, Hassan and Abdurahim Nuriso are alleged to have redeemed in excess of $8 million of SNAP benefits and nearly $2.1 million in WIC benefits at Towfiq Market between 2010 and November 2019. The government alleges a majority of those redemptions were fraudulent.
The government is seeking to forfeit more than $200,000 in this case. Approximately $18,650 in cash was seized during a federal search and seizure warrant at one of the Nuriso brother’s homes in Grove City in November 2018.
David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and Anthony V. Mohatt, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, announced the charges. Assistant United States Attorney David J. Bosley is representing the United States in this case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.