DETROIT – A Dearborn, Michigan husband and wife were arraigned yesterday for misrepresentation to a United States agency, tax evasion and fraudulent bankruptcy, U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today. The same day, the two individuals pleaded guilty before Judge Laurie J. Michelson.
Ison was joined in the announcement by Sarah Kull, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, Joshua Hauxhurst, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of ‘Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Acting Special Agent in Charge Salvador Gonzalez.
Abraham Elsaghir, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of misrepresentation to a United States agency, one count of federal tax evasion and one count of fraudulent bankruptcy. Samar Elsaghir, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of misrepresentation to a United States agency and one count of federal tax evasion.
According to information and plea agreements, in May 2017, Abraham and Samar Elsaghir filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, and they received a discharge of their debts in August 2017. As acknowledged in the plea agreement plea, however, the Elsaghirs misrepresented their bankruptcy petition, both failing to report and underreporting their income. During the same period, the Elsaghirs made similar misrepresentations to both the IRS on their 2016 tax return and the United States Department of Agriculture in order to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits ( SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps. In the plea agreements, the Elsaghirs agreed that, from 2014 to 2020, they received nearly $60,000 in SNAP benefits to which they were not entitled and actually owed the IRS an additional $70,000. for the fiscal calendar years 2014-2018. . Abraham Elsaghir also agreed that he was and must pay more than $166,000 to unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy case.
“We have seen an unprecedented number of people committing fraud in government programs. This case involved multiple levels of deception – lying to the bankruptcy court, the IRS and the USDA. This conduct will not be tolerated, and individuals who make false claims to exploit resources intended for those most in need will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.
“Working with our law enforcement counterparts and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute and prosecute individuals who repeatedly make false statements to government agencies helps ensure the integrity of government processes,” said Josh Hauxhurst, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Division of the FBI. “This investigation sends the message that those who lie to federal investigators and commit fraud in the process will be held accountable.”
“Elsaghir’s plea is an important reminder that federal income tax compliance should be shared equally among all Americans,” said Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull, IRS Criminal Investigation, Detroit Field Office. Conspiring to defraud the government with a scheme to underreport taxable income and steal money intended for low-income families is illegal and shameful.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Acting Special Agent in Charge Salvador Gonzalez said, “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was created to provide food and nutrition to those who really need this help. Those involved in fraud and abuse of SNAP and other USDA programs will be prosecuted aggressively by our office. Our joint investigation in this investigation brings to justice individuals who have sought to profit from the SNAP program through illegal schemes. The USDA Office of Inspector General will continue to dedicate resources and work with our local law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of this and other USDA programs and to prosecute the perpetrators of fraud.
Sentencing of Abraham Elsaghir and Samar Elsaghir has been set for June 23, 2022, before Judge Laurie J. Michelson in the Eastern District of Michigan. Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. Judge Michelson will determine each sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
The investigation of this case was conducted jointly by special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General – Investigations, and continued by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick E. Corbett and Special Assistant to the United States Attorney Richard A. Roble.