Chicago police officer among 9 charged with defrauding low-income food program

A 16-count indictment alleges owners and workers at several Chicago-area convenience stores accepted checks from the Women, Infants and Children program for ineligible items at the stores, often at inflated prices.

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A Chicago Police star on the wall at Chicago Police Headquarters.

A Chicago police officer and eight others are accused of defrauding the Women, Infants and Children food program.

Sun-Times file

A Chicago police officer is among nine people facing federal charges for defrauding a low-income food program for women and children.

The officer, Hassan “Eric” Abdellatif, 33, is charged with fraud and two tax offenses, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department said Abdellatif has been relieved of his police powers.

CPD declined to comment further, citing the FBI investigation.

A 16-count indictment alleges owners and workers at several Chicago-area convenience stores accepted checks from the Women, Infants and Children program for ineligible items at the stores, often at inflated prices.

Most of the nine stores identified in the indictment redeemed millions of dollars in checks from the program, according to the feds. Abdellatif is the owner of El Milagro Mini Market and Harding Grocery in Chicago.

Abdellatif was arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty, court records show. He was released on a secured $150,000 bond.

Also charged are Hamdan “Tony” Hamdan, 32, of Chicago, owner of La Villita Food Market; Ehab Khraiwish, 27, of Tinley Park, owner of Mercado La Estrella in Elgin; Waleed “Wally” Khrawish, 34, a worker from Melrose Park; Alaa Hamdan, 35, a worker from Chicago; Ersely Arita-Mejia, 39, a worker from Arlington Heights; Fortino Hernandez, 38, a worker from Addison; Jehad Khrawish, 24, a worker from Chicago; and Marisol Zavala, 29, a worker from McHenry.

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