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A St. Cloud man has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and ordered to pay almost $4.2 million for food stamp and COVID assistance fraud.

Minnesota's U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced Wednesday that Hared Nur Jibril, the owner of Hormud Meat and Grocery Market, has been convicted on federal charges of wire fraud.

An investigation found his store had signed up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program in 2009, and was also a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) vendor.

Between 2018 and through 2021, it was alleged that Jibril and other store employees "devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the USDA" by exchanging SNAP and WIC benefits for cash and ineligible items, including phone minutes, personal care products, and prepared food from Jibril's adjacent restaurant.

Over the course of three years, this defrauded the USDA to the tune of $4.1 million.

It also emerged that during the pandemic, Jibril applied for unemployment benefits, claiming he'd been laid off due to COVID-19, even though he continued to be employed at his business.

As a result, he received $32,724 in unemployment benefits.

He was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and three years supervision upon his release, and ordered to repay $4,187,999.72 in restitution.

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