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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Meisum Bakery Inc. And Owner Sentenced for Food Stamp Fraud

BOSTON – Meisum Bakery Inc. and its owner, Xi Xian Lei, were sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with a more than $740,000 food stamp fraud scheme that Lei and his employees operated out of a Chinatown bakery.

Meisum Bakery Inc. was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to one year of probation and Lei was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and one year of supervised release. Lei and Meisum Bakery were also ordered to pay $747,134 in restitution. In November 2016, Meisum Bakery Inc. and Lei pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits fraud and two counts of SNAP fraud. 

SNAP, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides eligible households with government subsidies for food and allows holders to exchange their SNAP benefits for food at authorized retail food stores.

From about October 2010 through April 2012, Lei and Meisum Bakery employees purchased SNAP benefits from legitimate SNAP beneficiaries for cash at a discounted value of approximately 50 cents for every SNAP dollar; however, neither Meisum Bakery Inc. nor Lei was authorized to accept SNAP benefits as payment for goods at the bakery. Lei and Meisum Bakery employees subsequently redeemed the SNAP benefits by using the beneficiaries’ EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards to buy goods and earn credit at stores that were authorized to accept SNAP benefits.

During the course of the conspiracy, Meisum Bakery Inc. and Lei defrauded the USDA of more than $740,000 in SNAP funds.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Bethanne M. Dinkins, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Northeast Region; Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Richardson and Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated April 24, 2018