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Press Release

East Bay Convenience Store Owner Sentenced To More Than Three Years In Prison For Role In Food Stamp Fraud Conspiracies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Jury Found Defendant’s Participation in Conspiracies to Defraud SNAP Program Lasted Several Years

OAKLAND –Ali Mugalli Hassan was sentenced to 37 months in prison for his role in multiple schemes to defraud government benefits programs, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG) Western Region Special Agent in Charge Shawn Dionida. The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton following a week-long jury trial resulting in Hassan’s conviction of the crimes.

At trial, the government presented evidence that Ali Mugalli Hassan, 32, of Alameda, defrauded the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) by unlawfully trafficking federal food stamp benefits from 2014 through 2017. According to evidence presented at trial, Hassan owned and operated a convenience store on International Boulevard in Oakland. Members of Hassan’s family, including his father Mugalli Ahmed Hassan, 50, of Alameda, served as cashiers at the store. The convenience store was an authorized vendor for the USDA’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) which helps economically disadvantaged persons pay for essential food items for themselves and their families. Trial evidence showed that Hassan and his family members conducted fraudulent SNAP transactions through his convenience store by charging purchases on the customers’ EBT cards when, in reality, the customers received few or no SNAP-eligible products. In addition, the evidence demonstrated Hassan kept approximately half the value of the fraudulent transactions and returned the remainder in cash to the customers. As part of the scheme, Hassan engaged in transactions in which he kept customers’ EBT cards and used the federal benefits assigned to those cards at other stores to purchase items to sell at his convenience store. At sentencing, Judge Hamilton found the loss amount from the conspiracy to be over $1 million.

On March 14, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Ali Hassan and Mugalli Hassan, charging both with various crimes in accordance with their roles in the scheme. On June 14, 2022, Mugalli Hassan pleaded guilty to nine counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and proceeded to trial along with Ali Hassan on several of the remaining counts pending against them. On June 29, 2022, a jury convicted both Ali Hassan and Mugalli Hassan of one count of conspiracy to commit benefits fraud and to defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; one count of benefits fraud greater than $5,000, in violation of 7 U.S.C. § 2024(b); one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; and one count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343.

In addition to the prison term, Chief Judge Hamilton ordered Ali Hassan to serve three years of supervised release, to begin after his release from prison, and to pay a fine of $15,000.

Judge Hamilton scheduled Mugalli Hassan’s sentencing hearing for February 2, 2023.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Abraham Fine and Molly Priedeman prosecuted the case at trial with the assistance of Patricia Mahoney, Kay Konopaske, and Leeya Kekona. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the USDA-OIG with the assistance of the Oakland Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Updated December 16, 2022