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Press Release

Erie Market Owner Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Food Stamp Program

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

ERIE, Pa. - A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of food stamp fraud, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Bader Al-Dhumani, 56, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from in and around January 2015 to in and around April 2020, Al-Dhumani, who is the owner and operator of Palm Tree Market in Erie, committed food stamp fraud by accepting food stamps for cash, store credit, and ineligible items. Al-Dhumani also took possession of customers’ PA Access Cards so that he could use the customers’ food stamp benefits at other stores to purchase inventory for his store.

Judge Baxter scheduled sentencing for April 20, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of twenty years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Al-Dhumani on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Al-Dhumani.

Updated December 13, 2021

Financial Fraud