Abdulkareem Daham was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud federal food programs and now faces potential deportation.
A Westbrook man was found guilty in federal court Thursday of conspiring with his brother to defraud federal nutrition programs.
Abdulkareem Daham was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the federal government by allowing recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Women, Infants and Children programs to trade their food vouchers for cash.
The transactions were made at Ahram Halal Market, the Forest Avenue grocery store operated by Abdulkareem’s brother, Ali Ratib Daham.
Abdulkareem Daham faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when sentenced, probably in four or five months. Also, as an immigrant from Iraq who is not a U. S. citizen, he faces the potential of deportation.
The two brothers were charged last April and Ali Ratib Daham pleaded guilty in November to three of the 25 counts he faced. He also agreed to forfeit $80,000 in cash that federal agents had seized and will pay $1.4 million in restitution. He faces up to 20 years in jail when he is sentenced this spring.
According to federal officials, suspicions were raised because the average federal benefits transaction at the store was more than twice that of a much larger Hannaford store nearby.
Peter Rodway, Abdulkareem Daham’s lawyer, said he and his client were disappointed by the verdict, which came after a trial that began Tuesday and wrapped up Thursday morning.
Rodway sought to show that Ali Ratib Daham was the instigator of the plot to defraud the programs and Abdulkareem Daham went along with it because his older brother told him what to do and the younger Daham was only a cashier at the store.
But federal prosecutors argued that Abdulkareem Daham was aware of what the plot was and that it was illegal.
The jury deliberated for about three hours before announcing the verdict.
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