Stealing Kid’s Lunch Money: New York Couple Charged With Theft From School Programs — And Then Go Bonkers Outside Court

Stealing kid’s lunch money has long been a scourge in schools, but usually the thieves come from the ranks of adolescent bullies. Prosecutors allege that Joanna Fan and her husband, Ziming Shen, never got out of the habit and stole at least $2.5 million in federal funds meant for nutritious meals for preschoolers.

The indictment alleges that the New York couple stole money over five years from accounts at the nonprofit Red Apple Child Development Center preschool chain run by Fan, who is also known as Xiao Ping. The money allegedly went to pay mortgage payments on several Manhattan condominiums and to support other businesses like Preschool of America Inc., a chain of about a dozen for-profit preschools.

What struck me as a bit different is that the surrender was made not to the FBI but agents of the United States Agriculture Department. We have been seeing more police activities by agencies in recent cases.

Red Apple Child Development Center runs six preschools in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island and received $13.5 million from the Agriculture Department in an eight year period.

In one alleged false representation, prosecutors say Fan withdrew $110,000 to pay her personal income taxes. Some $2.7 million allegedly went to Supermarnet, a company Mr. Shen owned, to provide meals to the preschoolers.

Both defendants were photographed “going bonkers” outside the courthouse. Shen injured himself as he attacked reporters and was then given another criminal charge in the assault. These are two people in need for some serious counseling — inside and outside the court.

Source: NY Times

17 thoughts on “Stealing Kid’s Lunch Money: New York Couple Charged With Theft From School Programs — And Then Go Bonkers Outside Court”

  1. sad!!! I blame the USDA FOR A LACK OF PROPER OVERSIGHT. How could all that money be disbursed and there is no consistent oversight? USDA should have a reimbursement policy. Buy the food, show receipts and then reimburse on the basis of the USDA guidelines. I blame the USDA. Bellieve me, there are many more like this couiple. The powers that be at USDA need to be fired!!!!!

  2. Update”

    School lunch investigation in Elizabeth leads to 3 arrests, including school board president
    Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 7:20 AM
    By Ted Sherman/The Star-Ledger

    “ELIZABETH — The president of the Elizabeth Board of Education and the spouses of two other school officials were arrested yesterday on charges of cheating the federal school lunch program to get free or reduced-cost meals for their children — in one case for six years.”

  3. lol….

    Oh…No the one that am attempting to recall is where she (almost certain it was a she) used them as personal assistants to clean the house, maids, chores, errands etc…and if they complained she’d cut them off and send them back to the country of origin….

    But you do have a point…

  4. Probably, but universities have been doing that for years. I believe they’re called “graduate assistants.”

  5. Mike A.

    Did we not have some head of a church organization that was using the work scholarships kids as personal slaves….

  6. I would not be surprised to learn that these wonderful folks are also engaged in the immigrant slave trade.

  7. Relative to the USDA Police, I saw a forum posting about how many people are employed by the various levels of government. I’d find it interesting to read a forum thread titled “How many people can arrest you?”

  8. Woosty.

    “Xiao Ping” is the spelling of this person’s name in the Pin Yin method of rendering Mandarin with Roman letters. In Pin Yin the letters represent sounds in no way similar to the sounds those same letters represent in English.

    There was an earlier method of spelling Mandarin using Roman letters called “Yale” in which pronouncing letters as in English gave an approximation of the correct Mandarin sound. In Yale the spelling of the name would be “Syau Ping”.

    If you are trying to render Mandarin for English speakers who have not in fact studied Pin Yin and the exact sounds that go with each letter or combination of letters Yale is the better option.

  9. There’s a church in the neighborhood I grew up in that has an after-school program for kids. Kids with parents that work and can’t get home ’till after school is out can be signed up for the program. It includes a hot meal that is in major part is cooked on site. The neighborhood went from poor to downright impoverished years and years ago. If the kids didn’t get that hot meal per day they wouldn’t get hot meals.

    If kids need meals and some sum’bit*c is stealing that food money then that sum’bit*h should go to jail. I’m not usually one for locking people up but I’ll make exceptions. Throw these thieves in jail.

  10. These people sound like ideal Republicans. Steal from the poor and give to the rich – themselves.

  11. Govt agencies have long had their own police forces. Someone teaching in DC, er, should have noticed this long ago. When I worked for a fed agency in another city, I had a work laptop stolen (in a supposedly secure building). Not only did I have to talk with the idiots with the security contract for the building and the local police, but also the GSA Police who represented the federal landlord (which held the building lease). No one recovered the laptop, btw, although one of these keystone cops outfits did uncover massive internal theft. the tipoff was charges to Mary Kay cosmetics on a manager’s credit card.

    In this case an enforcement arm of USDA makes sense. Who would otherwise have jurisdiction?

  12. “What struck me as a bit different is that the surrender was made not to the FBI but agents of the United States Agriculture Department.”

    Alas, but this is not a new trend. In 1997 I had to debate the then Inspector General of the USDA, over charges that NYC had not collected $140 million in Food Stamp Re-Payments. He was a former NYC Police Official, who I was told was still angry at the City for losing his job. I had done work to show their figures were incorrect by at least $100 million.
    He looked me in the eye, smiled and said he didn’t care, USDA would just change the number and charge us the same anyway. I think for some people in all walks of life the issue is always a power mentality and that is especially true for those with putative police powers.

  13. Did not Texas have Billie Sol Estes and his conviction was overturned:

    The United States Supreme Court in Estes v. Texas, 381 U.S. 532 (1965). His appeal hinged upon the alleged impossibility of a fair trial due to the presence of television cameras and broadcast journalists in the courtroom. He prevailed by a 5-4 vote.


    Seems like there was a Milk scandal as well….that could have brought the House of Johnson down…..

  14. Of course the ONLY solution to this theft is to privatize all education. Once people are driven by the profit motive there will be no more theft . . . er . . . the marketplace will take care of it . . . yeah, thats the ticket.

  15. This person ran the schools,others also implicated who worked for the school system:

    Elizabeth school board president: I didn’t know my children were receiving free lunches
    Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 9:45 PM

    “ELIZABETH — Amid a growing criminal investigation, the president of the Elizabeth Board of Education said today she has repaid the school district $2,682 to cover the cost of six years of free meals her children were not entitled to.
    In a statement tonight, Marie L. Munn said because of misunderstandings and financial complications, she was unaware her children were receiving free lunches until contacted last month by a reporter for The Star-Ledger”

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