Governor Calls Attention to FBI Affidavit Describing Significant Welfare Fraud in Portland

October 17, 2016

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 17, 2016
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage on Monday called attention to a publicly available affidavit filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April 2016 to justify a search warrant of Ahram Market (“Ahram Halal Groceries”) in Portland. The affidavit describes massive welfare fraud—amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars—revealed in the FBI’s investigation.

The investigation was generated by information from the Division of Audit at Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services. The affidavit describes how the FBI used a confidential informant to obtain information about significant welfare and tax fraud conspiracies at Ahram Market, including trading cash for welfare benefits, filing false tax returns and fraudulent disability claims.

While Maine media ignored the easily attainable 52-page public affidavit, which details an investigation that began in July 2015 and lasted through April 2016, news of it broke on Lifezette.com. “By purposely choosing not to cover this story, Maine media is complicit in hiding welfare fraud,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.

“The Maine people have been demanding welfare reform for many years, and our Administration has made significant progress in fixing the state’s previously unchecked welfare system. It’s no accident our Administration is finding 10 times as much welfare fraud as that of my predecessor. But the liberal, out-of-touch Maine media still vehemently opposes common-sense welfare reforms. It took an out-of-state news outlet to finally report this major story.”

Members of the news media may obtain a copy of the affidavit from U.S. District Court in Portland or by requesting a copy from the Governor’s Office.

“For too long, liberals from Portland to Washington have created ‘safe spaces’ for welfare fraud and abuse by making benefits too easily available while neglecting to crack down on illegal activity,” added Governor LePage. “I hope the Obama Administration is not turning a blind eye to such brazen tax and welfare fraud simply to protect their politically correct, open-borders agenda. On behalf of Maine taxpayers who work hard to provide these benefits to truly needy people, I will continue to support our state’s efforts to end abuse of our welfare system and direct our agencies to assist the FBI or DOJ in any way they can to identify and root out fraud.”