Police: Couple used Riverhead gas station to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in food stamp assistance money

Couple used Riverhead gas station to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in food stamp assistance money.

Couple used Riverhead gas station to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in food stamp assistance money. (6/27/13)

LONG ISLAND - Police say a couple is accused of using their Main Street Gulf gas station in Riverhead as a front to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in government food stamp assistance money over a three-year period.

Officers from the New York Attorney General's Office and the Department of Agriculture arrested 59-year-old Ravinder Parkash and 58-year-Old Prabha Rani for allegedly trading cash for food stamps.
Prosecutors say the scam cost the federal program money that was meant to feed Sandy victims.

The pair allegedly committed fraud by conspiring with two dozen Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program recipients throughout Suffolk County.

The indictment charges the couple would process fake transactions and then give the cardholders cash for half the purchase while pocketing the remainder of the money.

Prosecutors say they have frozen the couple's assets.

The gas station and convenience store are still open for business, but Rani and Parkash have been jailed. No one inside the business would comment on the investigation.

Both suspects have been arraigned. Rani's bail was set at $100,000 bond and Parkash at $250,000.

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