Owner of McKeesport Asian grocery pleads guilty to food stamp fraud and money laundering conspiracy

 

Date: October 6, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Glassport, PA pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of Conspiracy, Food Stamp Fraud, and Money Laundering Conspiracy.

Sin Y Sit pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge William S. Stickman.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that beginning in and around March 2014, and continuing thereafter until May 2017, the defendant engaged in acts of food stamp fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Sin Y Sit and his wife Qiao Jiang owned and operated Mei A. Asian Grocery in McKeesport, PA. Sit and Jiang allowed customers to unlawfully exchange food stamp credits under the USDA's S.N.A.P. program for cash (the defendants paid out fifty cents on a dollar) and other ineligible grocery items, such as tobacco. The amount of fraud during the term of the conspiracy is between $250,000 and $550,000. The defendant also engaged in financial transactions involving cash withdrawals of money which had been transferred into the store's business account by the USDA to reimburse the defendant and his store for the food stamp credits which had been scanned by the defendant and his customers at the store during the fraudulent transactions. The cash withdrawn by the defendant was then used by the defendant at his store to pay more customers in the unlawful use of the food stamp credits.

Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for February 17, 2021. The law provides for a total sentence of 45 years in prison, a fine of $750,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Shaun E. Sweeney is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, and Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Sin Y Sit.