10 charged in welfare fraud scheme following Kennedy Fried Chicken investigation

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HARRISBURG, Pa.–Ten people are facing charges related to welfare fraud stemming from an investigation into the sale of unused heroin bags at Kennedy Fried Chicken on North Sixth Street in Harrisburg in August, according to Harrisburg City police.

The initial investigation led police to two other businesses, 4 Star Market and 4G Supermarket (also known as Neighborhood Market), both located along the 1500 and 1200 block of Derry Street. The Office of Inspector General’s investigation began after Harrisburg Police forwarded numerous Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards found in the course of a drug investigation at Kennedy Fried Chicken. The state Office of Inspector General investigators reviewed SNAP transactions on the cards, which led to the charges against the people named below and another 45 SNAP recipients whose charges will be handled administratively.

The OIG charged the following store owners with SNAP trafficking, access device fraud and conspiracy for claim amounts of $13,000 each:

  • Waqas Ahmad and Awais Ahmad, owners of Kennedy Fried Chicken at 2001 North 6th
  • Saif Ud Din, owner of 4Star at 1531 Derry St. and also associated with a store of the same name on Lindenwood Lane.
  • Samina Akther, owner, of 4G at 1240 Derry St.

Idris Ali, an employee of 4G, was charged with SNAP trafficking and conspiracy.

The OIG also charged the following SNAP recipients with fraudulently buying/exchanging SNAP benefits:

  • Christopher Vogt Myers, of Reily Road, for a claim amount of about $69;
  • Taisha Snowden, of Crescent Street, for a claim amount of about $400;
  • Zina Foster, of Dauphin Street, for a claim amount of about $400;
  • Vanessa Orosco, of Thompson Street, for a claim amount of about $150; and
  • Eugene Diggs, of North 18th Street, for a claim amount of about $1,300.

Authorities also say they seized  over 38,900 baggies, which are used for packaging heroin, crack/cocaine and marijuana from 4 Star Market. Additional evidence and arrests are pending as the investigation continues, police said.

“These charges resulted from successful teamwork among law enforcement agencies and the Office of Inspector General. What started out as a drug investigation by the police led to the break-up of a SNAP trafficking ring by this agency,” Inspector General Bruce R. Beemer said.

Health violations were found at 4 Star Market during the investigation. The business was deemed not fit for human habitation and was ordered to cease and desist all sales and food services.

Authorities from Homeland Security Investigation, Pennsylvania State Attorney Office, Dauphin County Sheriff, Swatara Police, Dauphin County Probation, Harrisburg Police Street Crimes Unit, Harrisburg City Code Enforcement and Health Inspector’s offices assisted in the investigation.

Anyone with welfare fraud information may call the Welfare Fraud Tip line at 1-800-932-0582 or report online at WWW.OIG.pa.gov.

Anyone that has information regarding this case or the whereabouts of Zina Foster and Taisha Snowden are asked to contact Detective Heffner at (717)255-3181 or DHeffner@cityofhbg.com or Corporal Henry at (717) 255-3130 or DHenry@cityofhbg.com.

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