Former Valley businessman to spend nearly 8 years in prison

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A former area businessman was sentenced to nearly eight years in a federal prison for assaulting federal agents during a food stamp fraud investigation.

George Rafidi had been convicted in April of pointing a gun at federal agents and local police when they went to his Lordstown home with a search warrant. The warrant was part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture investigation into reports of food stamp fraud at Rafidi’s supermarket in Youngstown.

Rafidi told the court that he never pointed the gun at investigators — he claimed that he answered the door holding a gun after investigators awoke him by pounding on the door. Officers said, however, that Rafidi pointed the gun at them.

In the process, one officer jumped over a railing on the porch while another opened fire. No one was hit, but bullets struck the door and frame.

On Friday, Rafidi was sentenced to 94 months in prison for assaulting a federal officer and brandishing a gun. He is also required to pay the medical bills of the federal agent who suffered a dislocated shoulder after jumping off the porch.

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