CHICAGO — A Chicago police officer is among several Chicago area convenience store owners federally charged for allegedly scheming to defraud the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program.
The indictment alleges that from 2010 to 2019, the store owners, including CPD officer Hassan Abdellatif, and employees schemed to fraudulently redeem checks from WIC — which is a federally-funded program designed to help moderate and low-income children obtain a nutritious diet.
The charges allege the defendants knowingly inflated prices and allowed customers to use WIC as payment for ineligible items.
Most of the nine stores identified redeemed millions in WIC checks, the indictment states.
- Hassan Abdellatif, 33, of Chicago, – owner of El Milagro Mini Market and Harding Grocery in Chicago.
- Hamdan Hamdan, 32, of Chicago – owner of La Villita Food Market in Chicago.
- Ehab Khraiwish, 27, of Tinley Park – owner of Mercado La Estrella in Elgin.
- Waleed Khrawish, 34, of Melrose Park.
- Alaa Hamdan, 35, of Chicago – worked at Supermercado El Grande in Addison.
- Ersely Arita-Mejia, 39, of Arlington Heights – worked at Star Mini Market in Mt. Prospect.
- Fortino Hernandez, 38, of Addison – worked at Supermercado El Grande in Addison.
- Jehad Khrawish, 24, of Chicago – worked at a convenience store in Melrose Park.
- Marisol Zavala, 29, of McHenry – worked at a convenience in Elgin.
The indictment also charged Abdellatif with two tax offenses for allegedly willfully failing file two years of corporate tax returns for Harding Grocery.
Chicago police have relieved Abdellatif of his police powers.