Garfield Park grocery owner charged with fraud

Ali Al Najjar (Chicago police)

A West Side convenience store owner is now charged with fraud.

Investigators say Ali Al Najjar knowingly bought stolen products, such as over-the-counter medicines, perfumes, and purses on six occasions between June and September from an undercover police officer.

He then sold the same items at his Garfield Park store, police said.

Investigators say the owner also let an undercover officer use a LINK card to get cash back in exchange for food stamp benefits.

Al Najjar, 45, who owns Uptown Grocery at 4024 W. Madison St., was charged with two counts of felony continuing financial criminal enterprise, felony money laundering and felony wire fraud, the Cook County state's attorney's office announced Friday.

Authorities raided his store Thursday and recovered $40,000 in cash and $30,000 in high-value merchandise along with two cars, according to Chicago Police.

Al Najjar, of the 5700 block of North Mozart Avenue, was released on his own recognizance at a bond hearing Friday, authorities said. He is due back in court Nov. 6.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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