Lovejoy deli operator sentenced in welfare fraud case

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Ahmed Alshami, a Lovejoy corner deli operator, was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation in connection with a welfare fraud case.

Alshami, 37, appeared Friday before Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruszka.

“He has been incarcerated for approximately eight months so he has enough time in now to successfully be discharged,” said Emily Trott, Alshami’s lawyer.

In April, Alshami — who operated a corner deli on Ludington Street in the city — pleaded guilty to misuse of food stamps.

He admitted to buying food stamp cards for cash, typically paying half of the amount of their worth — then using the cards to purchase items to be sold in his store.

He was also order to pay $3,800 restitution to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Mr. Alshami certainly has no excuse for his conduct, but the root of it seems to be in drug activity,” said Trott.

It’s a case that Lovejoy area residents have followed closely because of Alshami’s ties to the store which has been closed since the city revoked its license.

Trott says some of the “angry outbursts” toward police by her client were fueled by “some anger and a bit of hostility and mistrust.”

“I hope that the police will come to understand that he’s not a treacherous villain. He certainly has issues, but once you get down to it he’s a very quiet soft spoken man,” she said.

In an unrelated case, Alshami received five years probation for a previous guilty plea to attempted burglary.

That probation sentence will run concurrent with the food stamp case.

“I hope that he will complete the necessary programs he needs to lead a clean and sober life,” said Trott.

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