Essex County prosecutors say 49-year-old Muhammed Farooq of Somerset was arrested Wednesday and charged with money laundering, theft by deception and food stamp fraud. His bail was set at $250,000.
Farooq allegedly allowed patrons to use food stamps to buy nonfood items, such as electronics. He owns two stores in Newark, one in East Orange and another in Elizabeth. Prosecutors say the purchases totaled roughly $5.2 million and went on for nearly 2 1/2 years.