Feds charge Lawrenceville couple with wire fraud, money laundering

ATLANTA -- Federal authorities have charged a Lawrenceville food company owner and his wife with bilking the U.S. government for about $300,000 in reimbursements for international televisions ads that never existed, officials said.

Salwa Foods owner Mushtaq Mistry, 46, and his wife Waheeda Mistry, 42, both of Lawrenceville, were indicted this week by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, false statements and money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates scorned the couple for taking advantage of a Department of Agriculture program designed to make it more financially feasible for domestic companies to advertise in international markets.

According to Yates, Mushtaq submitted false invoices for marketing expenses his frozen foods company allegedly incurred for ads on a Dubai television network. The federal "Market Access Program" allows food producers to be reimbursed for up to half of costs associated with marketing their product overseas.

Yates said no such ads were ever purchased.

In an attempt to disguise about $300,000, Mushtaq allegedly submitted false invoices from the Dubai television network for reimbursement, then transferred money to companies owned by his wife and generated other checks that were never delivered to the television network.

"Waheeda Mistry simply re-deposited the funds into her companies' accounts and transferred the money back to Salwa Foods," Yates said in a release.

The indictment charges Mushtaq with fifteen counts of wire fraud, three counts of false statements, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 11 counts of money laundering.

His wife faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 11 counts of money laundering.

If convicted of all counts, the couple could face decades in prison and fines totalling millions. Each money laundering count alone carries a maximum sentence of 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000, officials said.

The couple have made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Russell Vineyard, who set their bond at $25,000 each.


toby 3 years, 5 months ago

These folks should be thrown under the jail and left to rot. And on the other hand how can you blame them for taking advantage of another stupid government policy to pay 1/2 of advertising. Why doesn't the government pay 1/2 of my car insurance or my Kroger bill or doctor bills or utilities. When did the goverenment decide tha that could take the working peoples money and just piss it away on stuff like this? If you want to sell your S&^% in another country, have at it but don't look for me to pay for your D advertising. D the goverenment. I wish I had been a pot smoking hippie in the 60's and then I could be running the country.


totatoms 3 years, 5 months ago

Truly ridiculous. Even if you think this type of government subsidy is OK (which I DEFINITELY DO NOT), how could anyone be so blind as to think they could prevent this type of fraud. Let's add it up. Just ONE person caught taking advantage of just ONE foolish government program = $300,000 of our money down the tubes. PLUS how much more was spent investigating this ONE crook. Plus however much has been stolen from this program by those too smart to get caught. MULTIPLIED by WHO KNOWS how many more of these outrageous programs that are in place. That, my friends, is just the cost of the fraud perpertrated on these programs. Now imagine, if you dare, the additional amount of money forcibly taken from you to administer all of these programs and given to the "legitimate" program participants. Sickening and infuriating.


news2me 3 years, 5 months ago

Our government invites these people to immigrate here with all kinds of business deals like this. This is part of our embracing the global economy. The US governement should not be suprised that there are a lot of people commiting frauds such as this. They invited them to do it. Our immigration policies (or lack there of) are destorying this country.


kayak 3 years, 5 months ago

...and how long do you think $25k bond is gonna hold them in the a) jail and b) country? Then we're out that much more money tracking them internationally.....


BuzzG 3 years, 5 months ago

The biggest crime here is that the Department of Agriculture would reach into our pockets and take tax money and spend it on nonsense like "subsidizing advertising in international markets." If people want to advertise their products in international markets, let them use their own money. The real criminal is Barak Obama. He belongs behind bars, but the best we will be able to do is toss his worthless booty to the street. The first Tuesday in November can not come quick enough.


suedehead 3 years, 5 months ago

Why? The first Wednesday in November you're going to be very disappointed.


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