Daytona Beach business owner accused again of paying pennies on the dollar for EBT cards

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Federal agents arrested a Volusia County store worker again on accusations he bought food stamp cards from their recipients, Channel 9 has learned.

Tuesday's raid happened at the Foreign Food Mart on Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona Beach.

A Channel 9 investigation into food stamp fraud led to a statewide investigation, and WFTV's Blaine Tolison learned it's the second time in a little more than a year that suspect Matthew Abu Diab has been arrested.

Abu Diab is again accused of buying electronic benefit transfer (EBT) food stamp cards for pennies on the dollar.

"You have an unscrupulous business owner here and you have people who figure, 'Hey, we're going to work the system. He's going to give me cash. I can use it to buy drugs. I can use it to buy beer. I can use it to purchase sex,'" said Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood.

Last year, Abu Diab and his father were arrested on the same charges, and Abu Diab was on probation when police raided the food mart on Tuesday.

Inside, police found 13 EBT cards, and they believe Abu Diab still making between $150,000-$200,000 a year stocking his store using taxpayer dollars.

Chitwood said the system abuse doesn’t stop with Abu Diab.

"Could you imagine the billions of dollars that are pumped into this program, this EBT program, throughout the nation and how much of it is fraudulent?" he said.

As a result of Abu Diab's prior arrest, he was banned from participating in the EBT program, but police say that didn't stop him.