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Press Release

Rochester Nail Salon Owner Sentenced For Defrauding The SNAP Program

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Hang T. Lam, 46, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted of unauthorized use, transfer, acquisition, and possession of USDA food stamp benefits, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to serve three years’ probation and ordered to pay restitution totaling $26,631.00.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle P. Rossi, who handled the case, stated that in April 2018, the Monroe County Department of Social Services (DSS) developed information that Young’s Nails, which is owned and operated by the defendant, was trafficking in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/food stamp benefits for cash, nail services, and other non-food items. Young’s Nails does not sell food and is not authorized to accept SNAP benefits.

Between April 19, 2018, and October 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General conducted five undercover transactions at Young’s Nails using a SNAP Electronic Benefits (SNAP EBT) card. Purchases included nail services such as manicures and pedicures, cigarettes, jewelry, and cash. Lam charged double the cost when a SNAP EBT card was used.

When the undercover purchases were made, the defendant used the Tanhong Du Supermarket on N. Clinton Avenue in Rochester, Ocean Garden Oriental Foods Inc. on S. Clinton Avenue in Rochester, and the Asia Food Market on Brighton-Henrietta Town Line Road to process the undercover transactions. All three stores are approved to participate in the SNAP program.

On November 7, 2018, a search warrant was executed at Young’s Nails. Law enforcement officers seized SNAP EBT cards, dozens of handwritten notes containing four digit PIN numbers and various cash amounts, and SNAP EBT receipts from the Asia Food Market and other SNAP authorized stores. As a result, officers identified and interviewed SNAP clients involved in SNAP fraud with Lam at Young’s Nails. Eight of these individuals reported that they exchanged SNAP benefits for cash and nail services.

To date, approximately $26,000 dollars in fraudulent SNAP transactions executed by Lam have been identified.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins; Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; the Monroe County Department of Social Services, under the direction of Commissioner Corinda Crossdale; and the New York State Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro.

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Updated April 11, 2023

Financial Fraud