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Buffalo man pleads guilty to food stamp fraud

A 34-year-old Buffalo man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to unauthorized acquisition of food stamps, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Friday.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.

Nasser Ali Ghanem helped operate the Hollywood Nights Prime Shop deli on Jefferson Avenue, where from October 2008 to January 2011 he purchased food stamp benefits from food stamp recipients for cash at less than their full value, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

The total loss to the federal Department of Agriculture, which manages the program, is estimated at $67,139, officials said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 26 before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara.