The Brooklyn district attorney announced the indictment of eight New Yorkers today for fraudulently receiving Medicaid benefits and food stamps in separate cases of fraud, even as they raked in thousands, owned properties and even made lavish donations to charities.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said the defendants, who lived all over the city, fraudulently collected more than $500,000 in government benefits, starting as early as 2001. Many lied about their addresses, income and living situations in order to be eligible, he said.
“When individuals like these defendants who have substantial income try to cheat the system, it hurts the neediest among us,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
One of the defendants, Mohammed Irshad Chaudhry, 58, allegedly collected more than $146,000 in Medicaid benefits between January 2004 and November 2011.
Prosecutors said he lied on his Medicaid applications, saying he earned about $300 a week while working at Super Punjab Auto Repair shop in Long Island City. He also claimed he was a “helper” at a Tribeca tea shop.
However, he actually owns both those businesses, prosecutors said, and makes as much as $8,000 each month from them.
And while he was getting government assistance, prosecutors allege, he shopped at high-end stores like Brooks Brothers. Chaudhry had so much cash he even allegedly donated $10,000 to the nonprofit group Pakistani American Merchant Association, the DA said.
Prosecutors say he made plenty without government benefits, getting
as much as $8,000 each month from a taxi cab and taxi
medallion he owns. Also, prosecutors said the Chaudry family bought a
rental property in 2008, garnering them an additional $2,950 from
tenants each month, and derive income from a CITGO gas station
in Elmsford, N.Y., and Pak Sweets House on Coney Island Avenue.
Chaudhry was charged with welfare fraud, grand larceny and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Seven others were charged with swindling money out of Medicaid, including a couple that lives in West Babylon but faked a Brooklyn address, and Unise Key, 43, who prosecutors say concealed her job as an MTA conductor to get $6,210 in food stamps. She also got housing assistance from September 2001 to September 2010 by under-reporting her income, prosecutors said.
Two others indicted are landlords of six properties. Prosecutors said Mehtab Qureshi, 43, and Sarfaraz Qureshi, 58, own properties in Brooklyn and upstate New York but lied about owning the properties to get $168,502 in Medicaid benefits throughout six years.