Maine Grocer at Center of Food Stamp Probe Denies Wrongdoing

Portland ME food stamp investigation

The attorney for a Maine business owner accused of food stamp fraud says he should be afforded the "time-honored American tradition of the presumption of innocence."

Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Monday called attention to a federal investigation into allegations that the man, identified by affiliate WCSH as Ali Ratib Daham, owner of Ahram Halal Market in Portland, pocketed thousands under a cash-back scheme involving food stamps.

An affidavit indicates the grocer allegedly charged excessive amounts onto customers' electronic benefit transfer cards, provided cash in return and kept a commission.

No charges have been filed against the Daham or his grocery store. Walter McKee, his attorney, said his client is adamant that he did nothing wrong.

LePage chastised the media for not reporting on the case, which was publicized by a conservative website. He says the fraud amounts to "hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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