Texas (Madeline Buckley-The Brownsville Herald) – The owner of a Brownsville supermarket is headed to prison for almost four years for committing food stamp fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said today.
Parviz Sheikh Rezaei, 56, the owner of Pariz Dollar Supermarket Iranian national, pleaded guilty in August to exchanging Lone Star cards, which are used in Cameron County as food stamps, for discounted amounts of cash.
Rezaei would buy Lone Star cards from his clients at a discount and then charge the federal government for the full cost of the food stamp, court documents show.
Federal law enforcement agents working undercover recorded the transactions.
Court documents alleged that Rezaei, along with two co-conspirators, netted more than $4 million in the scheme. However, documents show the charges against co-conspirators named in the indictment were later dropped.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced Rezaei today to 46 months in federal prison and ordered him to serve a supervised release of three years once he gets out of prison.
Rezaei was also ordered to pay almost $2.5 million in restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Office of Inspector General for the United Stated Department of Agriculture and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations jointly conducted this investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Ana Cao prosecuted the case.