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United States v. Aljabri

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
363 Fed.Appx. 403 (7th Cir. 2010)


Facts

The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service operated a food-stamp program. The program provided recipients with a debit-type card for purchasing food items at authorized retailers and then sent reimbursements to the retailers’ bank accounts. Salem Fuad Aljabri (defendant) owned Sobba Food Mart (Sobba), a grocery store that was authorized to participate in the program. Aljabri began illegally purchasing food stamps from customers. Aljabri withdrew money from his reimbursement account by writing checks to cash, which he then used to buy the food stamps. Over a several-month period, Aljabri cashed a minimum of 155 checks, almost all of which were for an amount under $10,000. Sobba was later terminated from the food-stamp program. Subsequently, Aljabri’s girlfriend opened another grocery store, White Bird, which also enrolled in the food-stamp program. Aljabri purchased food stamps from customers at White Bird until he was arrested for his scheme. At the time of his arrest, Aljabri admitted that he was aware of the federal reporting requirement for transactions in currency over $10,000. Aljabri was charged with 11 counts of structuring his withdrawals to evade the reporting requirement. For each count, Aljabri was alleged to have cashed multiple checks, each of which was for an amount under $10,000 but that together totaled over $10,000. Aljabri was convicted on all counts. Aljabri appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Norgle, J.)

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