NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say the owner of $4 stores in northern New Jersey has admitted to a scheme in which patrons were allowed to make more than $5 million in fraudulent food stamp transactions.
Essex County prosecutors say 49-year-old Muhammed Farooq of Somerset pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft by deception and agreed to forfeit $832,830, He faces up to seven years in state prison when he's sentenced Jan. 6.
Authorities have said Farooq allowed patrons to use food stamps to buy nonfood items, such as electronics. They say the purchases totaled roughly $5.2 million and went on for nearly 2 1/2 years.
Farooq owns two stores in Newark, one in East Orange and another in Elizabeth.