Cheswick man charged with food stamp fraud pleads guilty

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A Cheswick man who ran Natrona Mart in Natrona Heights pleaded guilty today to conspiracy, food stamp fraud and money laundering in the latest conviction in a multi-agency crackdown on fraud in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

Waqar A. Malik, 56, was charged for accepting thousands of dollars worth of food stamps in return for cigarettes, then making the transactions look like legitimate food sales in order to get government reimbursement.

Mr. Malik is to be sentenced July 9 by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were involved in the investigation.

Agents have been gathering evidence of shopkeepers buying food stamps for cash or accepting them for cigarettes, resulting in numerous charges.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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