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Four charged in food benefit fraud schemes

Steve Chamraz and Tim Meulemans

Four charged in food benefit fraud schemes

CREATED Sep. 27, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep. 27, 2012

MILWAUKEE- Four people were charged this week with defrauding state and federal food benefit programs designed to provide nutrition to the poor.

Court documents show federal and state investigators conducted numerous stings at convenience stores on Milwaukee's west and north sides over the last 18 months.

In those stings, an undercover agent would attempt to trade for cash food stamps, baby formula vouchers or credit from a benefit debit card.

Prosecutors allege the most fraud took place at the Three Brothers Plus convenience store on West Burleigh Street.

Haidar Jaraba faces seven felony counts, including food stamp fraud and exchanging WIC vouchers for cash.

Others charged include Sarbijt Singh, who faces three felony counts of defrauding the state-run Women, Infants and Children nutrition program.

Prosecutors say Singh used his store on North Teutonia Avenue to trade baby formula vouchers for cash, paying out $50 for vouchers worth $125.

Rodney McCoy faces three misdemeanor and one felony count of food stamp fraud.

Undercover agents visited his McCoy's At Your Convenience store on North Avenue three times in 2011 and once in 2012.  Each time, the state says, McCoy traded food benefits for cash.

Raed Fakhoury faces one felony charge of swapping WIC vouchers for cash last December.