ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Three Rockford men were sentenced in federal court to prison for selling counterfeit clothes, shoes, and mechandise in Rockford in 2010. The cases arose out of a joint investigation into food stamp fraud and the sale of counterfeit merchandies by federal agents from the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General (“USDA-OIG”), Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (“DHS- HIS”), Federal Bureau of Investigations (“FBI”), Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), and officers and detectives from the Rockford Police Department. As a result of the investigation, five other Rockford men were chared in federal court with offenses relating to food stamp fraud (LINK cards) – thouse five men pleaded gulity and have laready been sentenced.
Brothers Abdul Hariz, 23 and Mohammad Hariz, 21, of Rockford, each pleaded guilty on February 8th, 2012 to conspiring to sell counterfeit shoes and apparel. According to their plea agreements, they sold counterfeit shoes and apparel at the Fashion Show store in Rockford between August 19, 2010, and December 14, 2010. Mohammed Hamad, 44, was charged in a separate indictment. He pleaded guilty on March 8, 2012, to selling coutnerfeit goods at the Westside Grocery store in Rockfod on October 21, 2010. In his plea agreement, Hamad admitted that he was part-owner of Westside Groceries. He also admitted that employees of his store improperly allowed an individual cooperating with law enforcement agents to use a LINK card (food stamp benefits) to purchase counterfeit shoes. These three defendants were arrested on December 14, 2010, and charged with selling counterfeit goods.
All three defendants were sentenced to 5 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years on supervised release. During the first 5 months of supervised release, each defendant will be placed on home confinement with electronic monitoring. After the home confinement, each defendant must then serve the remaining 31 months of supervised release. All of the defendants were ordered to pay full restitution to the victims of their crimes and to repay the government for the costs incurred in the undercover investigation. Defendant Hamad was also sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000.