Although he really isn’t an Arkansas man! He is a Yemeni national who lived in Arkansas ever since his father used illegal means to get his family into the US.
Thanks to Richard for the tip.
The story broke yesterday and is rapidly making the rounds of small city media outlets since the APposted a pretty decent story.
Initial local Arkansas media coverage left out a key point, as did yesterday’s Justice Department press release—none that I saw, except the AP, said a word about how this Yemeni NATIONAL was living among us.
Indeed, rarely do we see mention of how these criminals and terrorists get into the US in the first place and that is always the most important question for me.
How do we fix our ‘broken’ immigration system if we don’t know how it is being gamed? Hereis a bit of the AP story posted at the Washington Post:
Arkansas man charged with helping al-Qaida
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Yemeni national living in Arkansas was charged with providing support to a terrorist organization, the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday. Bilal al-Rayanni was charged Thursday with supporting al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula between October and December of 2014 while he was in Yemen.
The 28-year-old was initially on arrested June 27 and charged July 11 with making a false statement on a passport application in May. According to the original complaint, he allegedly used the name Bilal Kassim Alawdi, which he had been using on passport documentation since he was a small child.
The Justice Department said al-Rayanni “provided and attempted to provide material support and resources, in the form of personnel (including himself) and services” to the terrorist organization, but did not elaborate. A spokeswoman said the department opened an investigation because of a citizen report.
The Justice Department said al-Rayanni lived in Arkansas before and after he traveled to Yemen in 2014.
Al-Rayanni is a resident of Helena-West Helena, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Little Rock. He’s been in federal custody since the June arrest and his arraignment is scheduled for Thursday. In an interview the day before he was arrested, al-Rayanni told State Department and FBI agents that his father had purchased a U.S. visa from a Yemeni man whose name was Kassem Alawdi. His father then used that visa in 1992 to obtain a U.S. passport for al-Rayani under the name Bilal Kassim Alawdi. He said he didn’t learn his true name until he was between 10 and 12, but has used the false name to obtain and renew passports in 2002 and 2008, as well as the most recent attempt to renew his passport in May.
I’m more interested in the immigration fraud then I am in his terrorist inclinations!
I sure hope the US Justice Department is now going after his Daddy and anyone else who got into the US with him by lying and cheating!
If it was a visa, then for what? Did they just overstay the visa and no one figured out that they were here illegally?
And, if they got into the US on only a visa for some limited time, how did they get US Passports with only visas permitting them to be here? So many questions!
You probably saw this news last month. I know I saw it in several places because more news outlets have come to discover this type of fraud usually involving convenience stores and those Mom & Pop gas stations with the small grocery attached.
(Last year CNS News published a very useful report about how most SNAP fraud occurs in small grocery stores/convenience stores.***)
I suspect the prevalence of “new Americans” behind the counters of these small stores has something to do with the E-2 investor visaour government gives out regularly to foreign ‘investors.’
See the list of countries from which we are importing new American businessmen.
With an investment sometimes less than $100,000 a Pakistani, for instance, can buy a small store with the help of US lawyers who walk them through the process of getting in here with an investor visa.
Seriously search E-2 investor visa and you will find pages of law firms advertising their prowess in getting immigrants set up in business.
But many of the new American entrepreneurs aren’t willing to wait to build up their enterprises the old fashioned way, they have become experts at ripping off the US taxpayer—like these crooks who plead guilty in Arkansas last month.
From the Arkansas Democrat Gazette,
3 guilty pleas entered to food-stamp fraud in Arkansas
Raja Khani Zaman and his son Haroon pleaded guilty Wednesday before Western Arkansas Chief U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III to conspiracy to traffic in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [food stamps] benefits, conspiracy to commit money laundering and filing false income-tax returns.
Another man, Ahmed Zaman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in food-stamp program benefits.
After the plea hearings, all three were released on $5,000 signature bonds. Sentencing will follow completion of a presentence investigation.
They face up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the food-stamp trafficking charge, 20 years and a fine up to $500,000 on the money-laundering charge, and up to three years and a fine up to $100,000 on the tax-return charge.
More complex tricks!
Rather than the usual method of simply buying benefits from a customer desperate for cash at the going rate of 50 cents on the dollar, the Zamans used a variety of schemes to turn your money in to their money.
The plea agreements listed multiple ways in which the men violated the food-stamp program. They would allow beneficiaries to use their food-stamp cards to buy items prohibited under the program at twice the price of the items.
They would take beneficiaries, or send them, to other stores to use their cards to purchase items for resale in the Zamans’ convenience stores, then pay the recipients 50 cents cash for every dollar they spent.
The government said the Zamans committed money laundering by reselling products in their convenience stores that were purchased elsewhere for them by cooperating food-stamp recipients, according to court records.
Continue reading here.
Just so you know the person selling his or her benefits is also in legal jeopardy and I am beginning to see cases where they are prosecuted too.
That’s enough for now, I’ve given you some previews of what we will be discussing going forward as these kinds of cases are busted by the feds.
***Here is the chart from the CNS storyI mentioned above. Note that the vast majority of food stamp fraud occurs in small groceries and convenience stores.
I’ve been following food stamp fraud stories for years, click here at RRW and you will see some incredible ones that make these Arkansas scammers look like amateurs.
Almost never is a photo available of the perps. Why is that I wonder?