USA: US grocer to pay 15 mln dlrs for scamming military: govt


WASHINGTON — A US grocer who pled guilty to defrauding the government on contracts to supply food to troops in the Middle East will pay 15 million dollars to settle the case, officials said Friday.

Samir Itani and his Houston-based company American Grocers Ltd (AGL) are accused of adding in bogus trucking costs, concealing discounts from suppliers and falsifying health certificates and halal certificates that proved meat was in compliance with Islamic dietary laws.

The government also accused AGL of altering shelf-life dates on some food items to make them seem fresher, the Justice Department said.

Itani pled guilty to conspiring to defraud the government by submitting false claims, but has not yet been sentenced.

“Companies that provide supplies to our men and women in uniform must be held to a high standard,” said Tony West, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil division.

“We will be vigilant in protecting taxpayer funds from fraud, especially where the fraud relates to contracts meant to support our troops.”

AGL could not immediately be reached for comment.