Three men charged with $100,000 Link card fraud
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE November 30, 2012 11:44AM
Walid Mohammed / photo from Chicago Police
Updated: November 30, 2012 11:47AM
Three south suburban men were charged in connection with a LINK card scheme that amassed more than $100,000 in cash and caused the closure of five grocery stores.
In June, police learned of unusual activity at several grocery stores on the South Side and surrounding suburbs, according to statement from police News Affairs. Chicago Police, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Homeland Security began an investigation.
It was discovered that LINK card benefits were being processed by electronic wire and exchanged for cash, police said.
Walid Mohammed, 50, of Palos Hills; Imad Qatanani, 37, of Burbank; and Mohammed Abuzir, 49, of Bridgeview were each charged with a felony count of organizer of a criminal financial crime enterprise.
Five businesses were searched in the Englewood and Gresham police districts and three more in Burbank, Bridgeview, and Palos Hills, police said. Several safety deposit boxes and bank accounts at financial institutions were also searched.
In addition to more than $100,000 in cash, two guns and three vehicles were also seized, police said.
Five grocery stores were closed at the following locations: the 6500 block of South Ashland Avenue, 1600 block of West Garfield Boulevard, 8500 block of South Ashland Avenue, 5500 block of South Ashland Avenue and the 6800 block of South Damen Avenue.
Mohammed, Qatanani and Abuzir are expected Friday in bond court.