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Food Stamp Scam Convictions

Food Stamp Scam Convictions

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Published by Daily Freeman
Press release from Ulster County District Attorney's Office
Press release from Ulster County District Attorney's Office

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Published by: Daily Freeman on Mar 01, 2012
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03/01/2012

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ULSTER COUNTY
OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
 
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WALL STREET KINGSTON, NEW YORK 1
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Date: March 1, 2012Re: Press Release on Sunoco ConvictionsPlea of Kanwarjit SinghThe Ulster County District Attorney¶s Office announces theconvictions of Kanwarjit Sing, 39 of Wappingers Falls andSurrinder Kumar, 40, of Kingston, the former proprietor andnight clerk, respectively, of the Sunoco Convenient Martlocated at 675 Broadway in the City of Kingston. On February22, 2012 Singh pled guilty in Ulster County Court to GrandLarceny in the Second Degree and Criminal Tax Fraud in theFifth Degree. Kumar was convicted, today, of Grand Larceny inthe Fourth Degree and Criminal Tax Fraud, Fifth Degree. Thesecharges stemmed from a large-scale food stamp fraud schemethat was uncovered at the Sunoco store in 2010. Subsequentinvestigation into Mr. Singh¶s tax filings revealedsignificant understatements of his sales, earnings, andemployee wages, which led to the tax fraud charge againsthim.As part of his plea, Singh will forfeit all monies previouslyseized by the District Attorney¶s Office from his bankaccounts and located during the November 2010 raid of hisstore, and he will provide an additional $64,000 inrestitution monies. In total, $325,000 will be returned tovarious governmental agencies, including $50,000.00 to theNew York State Department of Taxation and Finance for unpaidtaxes. In addition, Mr. Singh is expected to receive astate prison term when he is sentenced in June of this year.Kumar was sentenced to serve one year in the Ulster CountyJail, and has been ordered to pay $4,796.00 in restitution.When he completes his sentence he will be deported to his
 
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native country, India. Neither Singh nor Kumar have priorcriminal histories.Of the 52 Sunoco customers who were arrested in connectionwith the food stamp fraud investigation, only four remainoutstanding.Depending on the severity and degree of their fraud andwhether they had a prior criminal history, sentences for the52 people arrested in this investigation ranged from civilcompromise to imprisonment in state prison. In each instancethe individuals were disqualified from future benefits, somefor life, which has saved tax payers an estimated$125,000.00. Each defendant has been ordered to payrestitution for the sums stolen.In addition to the criminal charges filed fifty individualsinvestigated were disqualified from benefits at a savings of$227,000.00 to taxpayers.The bulk of the restitution expected to be received,$320,000.00, will be recovered from the principal, KanwarjitSingh. In addition there have been restitution ordersexceeding $110,000.00. The restitution will be repaid tovarious government agencies as determined by New York StateLaw, CPLR section 1349(2).³The break in the investigation came from work done by theKingston Police Department,´ stated District Attorney HolleyCarnright. ³Our office then coordinated efforts with theUlster County Dept. of Social Services and New York StateDepartment of Taxation and Finance, as well as the KingstonPolice Department.´³The breadth and scope of an investigation like this isgenerally not accomplished by relatively small departmentssuch as the Kingston Police Department. A lot of credit forthe success of this case goes to County Executive MichaelHein and the Ulster County Legislature. When this case firstcame to me, I explained to them that I needed help in thisinvestigation. The County Executive proposed, and theLegislature approved, money for my office to hire aninvestigator who would be dedicated to this investigation.Former Department of Social Services Commissioner Rodriguezarranged 50% of the investigative salary to be paid by theState and, thus, for a relatively small investment, and withthe cooperative efforts of these different agencies, we wereable to proceed with a historically significant, successful,prosecution. More importantly, the entire process was

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