VEN­DOR TAKES LI­CENSE

ID-switch scheme

New York Post - - NEWS - By MAX JAEGER Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Nick Fu­gallo

This guy is as slip­pery as a side­walk hot dog.

A city food-cart ven­dor dodged $117,300 in health­in­spec­tion fines by cook­ing up a se­ries of phony iden­ti­ties for him­self so he could keep get­ting new li­censes — and the Health Depart­ment swal­lowed his trick ev­ery time, ac­cord­ing to an ad­min­is­tra­tive judge.

Nor­mally, food ven­dors must pay their fines be­fore they can re­new their per­mit ev­ery two years.

But Ab­del­hakim Has­san Ganash found it was eas­ier — and cheaper — to skip pay­ing the fines and just get a new li­cense under a bo­gus name, ac­cord­ing to an April 12 rul­ing by Judge Alessan­dra Zorgniotti.

He used a doc­tored So­cial Se­cu­rity card or made tweaks to his name on ap­pli­ca­tions in or­der to pull the scam three times be­tween 2006 and 2016 — while rack­ing up $117,300 in fines for more than 155 health-code vi­o­la­tions, court records show.

Ganash was busted in the scheme in 2012, and the health com­mis­sioner at the time or­dered that “no fur­ther li­cense or per­mit of any kind shall be is­sued to [him] at any time,” ac­cord­ing to Zorgniotti’s rul­ing.

But Ganash still got a per­mit in 2016 by us­ing al­most the same in­for­ma­tion from his 2006 ap­pli­ca­tion. He put his mid­dle ini­tial down in­stead of spell­ing out his mid­dle name and used a dif­fer­ent phone num­ber and ad­dress.

Zorgniotti rec­om­mended that the city yank Ganash’s li­cense — for the sec­ond time — but also blamed the Health Depart­ment for ac­cept­ing ob­vi­ously al­tered records and fail­ing to bet­ter scru­ti­nize ap­pli­cants.

“DOH’s in­abil­ity to dis­cern what is false be­tween the var­i­ous doc­u­ments is, in part, of its mak­ing,’’ the judge said.

The city has been let­ting street ven­dors get away with sim­i­lar schemes for years.

Ganash may live with two other peo­ple busted for the scam. Pub­lic records in­di­cate he shares an Astoria Boule­vard ad­dress with Mo­hamed El­sayed, who was caught at the scam in 2011 and owed the city $300,000 in fines in 2014, and Mo­hamed Ghareb, who was busted in 2012 and 2016 and owes more than $100,000 in health-code fines.

No one an­swered the door or a phone num­ber as­so­ci­ated with the apart­ment Mon­day.

A Health rep said the agency will “tighten the ap­pli­ca­tion process,” con­tinue to “re­voke li­censes that were ob­tained im­prop­erly” and re­port bad ac­tors to the Depart­ment of In­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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