- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2019

An Ohio man and his son face multiple federal charges for a bizarre scheme in which they illegally operated a slaughterhouse and sold the uninspected lamb meat at Cleveland-area gas stations in exchange for food stamps, according to an indictment lodged Tuesday.

Amin M. Salem, 59, of Westlake, Ohio, is accused of slaughtering lambs on his property without a permit in 2015 and 2016, selling the meat at six gas stations he owned, and illegally accepting food stamps for the meat. Profits from the operation were then diverted into the gas station accounts, according to the six-count indictment.

Salem and his son, Mohamad Salem, 32, each face one count of conspiracy to launder money and one count of engaging in real estate transactions using laundered funds. Mohamed Salem also is charged with trafficking counterfeit goods for selling counterfeit clothing and apparel, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors also have charged Amin with one count of making unpermitted discharges into a waterway, one count of distribution of uninspected meat and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Amin Salem is charged with slaughtering the lambs on his farm property without a permit in 2015 and 2016 before selling the meat. He also stands accused of illegally dumping the animals’ blood and fluids into a ditch that eventually flows into Lake Erie.

Prosecutors say Amin Salem secretly operated the six gas stations that were managed by his son Mohamad Salem. Each station had machines to process food stamp transactions registered in Mohamed Salem’s name because his father is prohibited from owning the devices due to a previous conviction for food stamp fraud.

The machines processed more than $2.7 million of fraudulent food stamp transactions.

Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of two of the gas stations.

A third man, Zahran al-Qadan, 55, of Cleveland was indicted on one count of conspiracy to launder money.

“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 in announcing the indictment. “Salem put others at risk by selling unsanitary, unregulated food. The FBI will continue to work with our federal and local law enforcement partners to ensure fraudsters like these are held accountable.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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