City reviewing license to operate Lovejoy deli as owner faces criminal charges

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The owner of a corner deli in the Lovejoy neighborhood is fighting to keep his business open and fighting to stay out of prison.

37-year-old Ahmed Alshami, the owner of the IGA Express Mart on Ludington, was indicted this week on charges of burglary, as well as criminal possession and criminal use of a public benefits card, and misuse of food stamps.

His bail was set at $2,000,000.

Prosecutors say Alshami bought EBT (food stamp) cards off of people for cash, typically paying about half of their value. He’s accused of using those cards at other local grocery stores to buy items to stock the shelves in his own store.

Alshami’s business has a history of issues, according to Common Council Member Richard Fontana, who is working to get the business out of his district.

Violations include selling secondhand merchandise without a license and untaxed cigarettes. The business has also been cited for having garbage on its lawn.

Officials will consider those violations Thursday afternoon during a hearing about whether to revoke the license to operate the business.

The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. at city hall.

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