SNAP, NYC bodega, Dia Alqalisi,Dawood Kassim

2 Brooklyn Men Arrested For Allegedly Stealing $20M In SNAP Benefits

Two people in Brooklyn were arrested and charged with trafficking and stealing millions of dollars in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York.

The two suspects, 31-year-old Dawood Kassim (also known as “Badr al-din Kassim”) and 26-year-old Dia Alqalisi (also known as “Diaaldeen Alqalisi”), were arrested on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Another suspect has been indicted been has not been charged yet. The men are accused of siphoning $20 million from the program by allegedly engaging in thousands of SNAP transactions. The alleged illegal transactions occurred at a bodega that Kassim owns in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

“As alleged, the defendants trafficked and stole a massive amount of SNAP benefits from thousands of victims, illegally profiting from federally funded benefits intended for those in need of nutritious meals—which is especially vital in these times of high food costs,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said in a written statement. “The arrests today should be a wakeup call to those who think government programs are a piggy bank they can pillage without fear of consequences.”

The alleged fraud occurred between April 2022 through December 2022. The suspects allegedly conducted the SNAP transactions out of Throop Farm Market at the corner of Throop and Greene Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant. They are accused of trafficking SNAP benefits by allowing customers who used SNAP to exchange those benefits for cash or for items they were not eligible to purchase with SNAP. The men kept a portion of the benefits for themselves as payment.

Kassim is also suspected of stealing SNAP benefits from unsuspecting customers when he used counterfeit and stolen SNAP EBT cards at the bodega. Some of the victims of the crimes included people who used SNAP benefits and lived in Tennessee, Virginia, and California, among other states. The transactions garnered the men over $20 million in federally funded SNAP benefits, including over $7 million worth of SNAP benefits from some people who did not live in New York.

Recipients of the SNAP Program use an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card to purchase food and necessities for low-income individuals and families. The money comes from using federal funds from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).