ITHACA, N.Y.—An Ithaca convenience store owner has been sentenced to probation and has paid back restitution in a food stamp benefit case handled by the Ithaca Police Department, the USDA and federal prosecutors.

Abdul Jalil, who owns the Ithaca Halal Meat and Grocery, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay over $120,000 to the government. After sentencing, Jalil paid the restitution in full, authorities announced.

The practice, though technically illegal, isn’t exactly uncommon. People with low income and SNAP benefits exchange food stamps at a store for some amount of cash instead of food. It’s a way for people to convert their government-funded food stamps into cash they can use for things that don’t meet food stamp criteria or coverage.

Jalil could have faced up to five years in prison and an additional fine of $250,000, but appears to have avoided that extent of punishment.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com