Police arrested three men during an undercover food-stamp sting operation at a Phoenix convenience store Wednesday.
Kameel Sweiss, 51, and his sons, Ameer Sweis, 22, and Faday Sweis, 33, all of whom work at the K&S convenience store at 6166 N. 27th Ave., were arrested by Phoenix SWAT officers Wednesday morning and made their initial court appearances, according to a news release from the state's Attorney General's Office.
Officers raided the store and the Sweiss' Peoria home.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said $550,480 in cash was found in a private bank vault, another $32,876 in cash, bank records and accounts, extraneous food stamp cards, business ledgers and three vehicles were seized in the sting operation.
"This seizure is the largest in our state's history with regard to food stamp fraud," Horne said.
Horne said the business would allow a person with a food stamp card to purchase a small item, such as a bag of potato chips, overcharge the card and "make a fraudulent profit." According to the Attorney General's Office, those carrying the food stamps would be offered a "cut" of the cash-profit but Sweiss and his sons made a total of over $700-thousand.
"These people are saving it up and buying multiple cars, multiple houses and living off of us in a way that's just not right," a spokesperson for the Attorney General said.
The arrests came after months of the undercover operation that included several agencies.
The father and two sons face possible charges of charges of illegally conducting an enterprise, fraudulent schemes and artifices, money laundering, unlawful use of food stamps and computer tampering, according to Horne's office.
The three were held on $100,000 bonds each and were required to surrender their passports as a condition of release, according to Horne's office. They would be required to wear ankle monitors if they post bond, according to Horne's office.
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