Man sentenced for defrauding USDA

A Lawrenceville business owner was sentenced to federal prison Tuesday for submitting more than $300,000 in false claims to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a marketing scam.

Mushtaq “Mike” Mistry, 47, must serve 12 months and one day on wire fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

“This defendant abused a federal program designed to help companies in the United States market and sell their products internationally,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said.

Mistry, owner of Salwa Foods, submitted false claims under the USDA’s Market Access Program to be reimbursed for the cost of TV advertising in Dubai for products from his halal frozen food company from April 2007 through August 2009, authorities said. He used falsified documentation to indicate that he had made payments for ads in the United Arab Emirates, but no ads were ever purchased, they said.

He pleaded guilty in September.

In addition to his prison sentence, Mistry was given three years of supervised release, six months of home confinement and 500 hours of community service. He also must pay $342,500 in restitution to the Commodity Credit Corporation.

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