Two natives of Iraq pleaded not guilty today to federal charges related to an alleged scheme run from a Portland halal market to defraud the government of welfare benefits.
Ali Ratib Daham, now a U.S. citizen, faces multiple charges, ranging from fraud to trafficking in government benefits and money-laundering. The most serious of the charges carry a prison sentence of up to 25 years.
His younger brother, Abdul Kareem Daham, a permanent U.S. resident who says he’s now enrolled at Southern Maine Community College, faces one count of fraud with a 5-year maximum penalty.
Both men appeared in court on a summons and each agreed to a $25,000 bail bond.