WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) - A Westlake man has been federally indicted on charges that include food stamp fraud, laundering money, improperly possessing firearms, and operating an unregulated slaughterhouse.
Amin Salem, 59, illegally and secretly owned several gas stations in Cleveland and Garfield Heights, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Terminals inside the gas stations were used to process more than $2.7 million in fraudulent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP, transactions between 2010 and 2016.
Investigators say that Salem also slaughtered lambs and goats at his farm. He would then sell the meat, which was not inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and allowed customers to use SNAP benefits to pay for the meat.
Salem dumped the blood and bodily fluids from the slaughters into the Black River, which eventually leads into Lake Erie.
Despite being previously convicted on food stamp, mail fraud, and money laundering, Salem was found to be in possession of an AR-15 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun.
Charges included in the indictment:
- Conspiracy to launder money
- Engaging in real estate transactions using laundered funds
- Making unpermitted discharges into a waterway
- Distribution of adulterated, misbranded or uninspected meat
- Being a felon in possession of firearms
Salem’s son, 32-year-old Mohamed Salem, also faces one count of conspiracy to launder money, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and one count of engaging in real estate transactions using laundered funds related to the investigation.
“This father and son duo engaged in various illegalities to include stealing from every taxpaying citizen by engaging in food stamp fraud, a program designed to help those in need,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Hughes. “Salem put others at risk by selling unsanitary, unregulated food."
A family business partner, 55-year-old Zahran al-Qadan, was indicted on a count of conspiracy to launder money.
Agencies that helped investigate the case against Salem include the FBI, IRS, USDA, and the Cleveland, Westlake, and Strongsville police departments.