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