Over forty Somalis stand accused of involvement in pilfering over US$250 million US taxpayer money that was to feed children in need. Instead, attorneys charge, the money was used for personal purposes

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced charges against dozens of people Tuesday morning in connection with what he called “the largest pandemic fraud in the United States.”

Forty-seven people face federal charges accusing them of defrauding a federal child nutrition program, allegedly taking $250 million and pocketing most of it for personal use, instead of using it to feed children.

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday unveiled stunning indictments against dozens of Minnesotans in what U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger called “the largest pandemic fraud in the United States.”

Court documents name 47 people defendants, including Aimee Bock, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Feeding Our Future. The accusations revolve around an alleged scheme to defraud a federal child nutrition program of $250 million that should have been used to feed children across the state during the peak of the pandemic.

“Their goal was to make as much money for themselves as they could while falsely claiming to feed children during the pandemic,” Luger said. “As alleged in these indictments, over a short period of time, these 47 defendants engaged in a brazen scheme of staggering proportions.”

Prosecutors said just a fraction of the money went toward feeding kids, with the rest laundered through shell companies and spent on property, luxury cars and travel.

ROOTS OF THE ALLEGED SCHEME

The defendants are accused of targeting federal child nutrition programs that provide free meals to low-income children and adults. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with oversight from state governments. In Minnesota, the funds are administered by the state Department of Education, with meals historically provided to kids through schools and day care centers. Sites that serve the food are sponsored by authorized public or nonprofit groups.

Feeding Our Future had been a sponsor prior to the pandemic, and officials said in 2019 the group dispersed some $3.4 million. By 2021, however, that number ballooned to a whopping $200 million.

“No one participating in this scheme legitimately could imagine they could hire staff, purchase food, store food, handle the logistics involved in this process, make meals, serve them, and still make millions of dollars,” Luger explained. “It’s still not possible.”

Bock, however, allegedly thought it was at least possible to create the illusion that it could happen by exploiting the U.S. government’s relaxing of program requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those included allowing for-profit restaurants to participate in making meals for kids; food was also allowed to be distributed outside educational programs.

“During the pandemic once we sent all those kids home and shut down the schools, the kids weren’t at school. That’s what enabled a fraud scheme like this to thrive because people could not question whether kids were receiving food or could not question or raise a red flag had the children been in school,” Erica MacDonald, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, told WCCO. “The (lack of) site visit was a really important one. We’re talking about this alleged scheme and reporting children that just didn’t exist.”

HOW IT ALLEGEDLY WORKED

Several companies applied to provide meals to low-income children, prosecutors described, adding many used Feeding Our Future as a sponsor to seek funding.

Authorities allege Feeding our Future employees recruited others to open program sites across Minnesota that inflated the number of children and meals they were serving – or didn’t serve any at all. The nonprofit then submitted false claims for reimbursement, receiving an administrative fee of 10 percent to 15 percent in addition to kickbacks from people who wanted to join the scheme, the charges allege.

Court documents also describe how the scheme used shell companies that falsified invoices showing meals were served and submitted fake attendance rosters purporting to list the names and ages of children being fed each day.

“No one got sick, no one missed a meal, no one was away. Same children, every day, every week,” Luger quipped.

The FBI says one company claimed to be serving meals to 300 kids a day in January 2021. By February 2021, the group claimed it was providing daily meals for 3,290 children. In all, the group got $3.6 million in reimbursements in 2021, according to an FBI affidavit. Nearly that much was deposited into its bank account, then most of it went to another company. Little was used to buy food.

FEEDING OUR FUTURE

Feeding Our Future was formed in 2016 to help poor and minority communities secure federal food program funding. The nonprofit quickly became the largest independent sponsor of such programs in Minnesota.

Founder Aimee Bock told the Star Tribune this year that she employed 65 staff members who spoke 17 languages. She added the she’s working with 140 subcontractors to distribute 100,000 meals a day to Minnesota children.

An FBI affidavit traced the nonprofit’s rising reimbursements: $307,000 in 2018, $3.45 million in 2019, $42.7 million in 2020 and $197.9 million in 2021.

Bock said she never stole money and saw no evidence of fraud among her subcontractors. Feeding Our Future dissolved in February.

Bock’s attorney, Kenneth Udoibok, told WCCO Tuesday that she continues to stand by her past claims that she never stole any money.

Udoibok said it’s a relief to have more clarity of knowing what the charges are, but “at the same time, an indictment is just the beginning of a criminal process. It does not in any way indicate guilt or innocence.”

POSSIBLE RED FLAGS

Court documents say the Department of Education grew concerned about the rapid growth in reimbursements and the number of sites sponsored by Feeding Our Future. The department said it reached out to the USDA in the summer of 2020 and began scrutinizing the nonprofit’s site applications. In one case, the agency denied an application for a group that claimed in March 2021 it was serving an after-school snack and supper to 5,000 kids a day; the FBI characterized this as “an exceedingly large number of children.”

The Department of Education went to the FBI in April 2021, and the FBI began investigating the following month. Last January, federal agents raided several properties, including Feeding Our Future’s offices and Bock’s home.

Feeding Our Future received $244 million in federal reimbursements through the food nutrition programs between 2018 and 2021, the FBI reported. Department of Education data puts the nonprofit’s total reimbursements at $268.4 million in the same years.

OTHER LEGAL BATTLES

After the Department of Education increased its scrutiny, Feeding Our Future sued the agency in November 2020. Feeding Our Future alleged discrimination, among other things, saying many of the groups it works with are in minority communities.

By December 2020, the Department of Education stopped approving new site applications for Feeding Our Future. By the following March, the department halted all payments to the group. But in April 2021, a state judge ruled that the agency didn’t have the authority to stop payments and ordered that the reimbursements continue. The case was dismissed after the FBI investigation became public in January.

Bock on Tuesday was among the defendants who made their first court appearances. Of the 47 defendants, however, prosecutors conceded some had already fled the country.

IMPACT ON NONPROFITS FIGHTING HUNGER

People who work to fight hunger say fortunately, there were enough real programs during the peak of the pandemic to help children. But now, child hunger is becoming a problem once again.

“We have heard countless stories of the hardships families have faced in recent months,” said Rachel Sosnowchik with the Second Harvest Heartland food bank. “We’re coming off one of the hungriest summers in recent memory … We’ve seen the end of federal programs that were essential in families making ends meet throughout the pandemic.”

One of the programs that ended was free school meals for all. Parents now seeking help paying are encouraged to fill out an Application for Educational Benefits. Schools will have more information and can assist families in the application.


AG Keith Ellison calls alleged fraud “breathtaking and immoral”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison released the following statement regarding fraud allegations against those connected to Feeding Our Future.

“I congratulate the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Andy Luger on this criminal indictment. The scope of the fraud the government alleges is breathtaking and immoral. The federal government has original criminal jurisdiction over this matter and because the alleged fraud involves federal funds, it is right and appropriate for the federal prosecutors to bring criminal charges. I applaud them for doing so.

“As the chief regulator of charities in Minnesota, my civil investigation into whether Feeding Our Future broke any of Minnesota’s nonprofit or charities laws continues. I am also continuing to keep a close eye on the dissolution of Feeding Our Future, which is proceeding under court supervision after I asked the court to supervise it. I am also proud of the work of my office in representing the Minnesota Department of Education when it tried to stop payment to Feeding Our Future in court and subsequently first alerted the federal government to the fraud, which led to today’s indictments.

“I will hold bad actors accountable everywhere, no matter who they are or how well connected they may be.”


Minnesota Department of Education issues statement

The Minnesota Department of Education has issued a statement following the charges filed against nearly 50 people in the alleged Feeding Our Future pandemic fraud case.

“Today’s news from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is a direct result of the persistence and diligent oversight of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). As noted in the press conference by the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), MDE partnered with federal authorities and provided them critical information throughout their investigation. When MDE identified the unexplained growth of Feeding Our Future, MDE immediately reported those activities to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Midwest Regional Office, USDA’s Office of Inspector General, and the FBI until we were able to find someone who would take the troubling spending as seriously as we were. When MDE stopped payments, Feeding our Future hit back with accusations of racism and a sham lawsuit. Because of Feeding our Future’s misrepresentations in that lawsuit, a court instructed the payments to continue.

“Today’s arrests will help protect the integrity of these important programs and will allow the programs to continue feeding children and families in need. MDE will continue to work with federal partners to hold bad actors accountable and improve the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) so this does not happen again.”


“Fraud has consequences”: Senate education committee responds to indictments

The chair of the Minnesota Senate’s education committee issued a statement following the filing of charges against 47 individuals involved in an alleged $250 million pandemic fraud scheme.

“Today’s charges make one thing clear: Fraud has consequences,” Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes) said. “I want to thank U.S. Attorney Andy Luger and his team for their diligent work on holding people accountable. This is the work that the Minnesota Department of Education failed to do. As Mr. Luger stated, the criminals capitalized on the pandemic to make their millions off of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Last week, Chamberlain discussed preliminary findings into the Feeding Our Future case, saying the Department of Education did not follow state and federal laws. On Tuesday, he reiterated those statements.

“This is the largest case of COVID fraud in the nation because MDE didn’t do their jobs. The fraud was started and persisted because MDE failed to complete due diligence on these bad actors. They may have assisted in the investigation, but it’s too little, too late,” Chamberlain said.

Following Chamberlain’s comments last week, the MDE issued its own statement:

“MDE moved quickly and repeatedly raised the issue to federal authorities until we were able to find someone who would take the troubling spending as seriously as we were.”

Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood), the lead on the Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee, said the statements from Chamberlain were partisan in nature.

“The Senate DFL has always fully supported the ongoing federal investigation as well as the expected nonpartisan legislative auditor investigation that will provide thorough answers to some of these important questions,” Wiger said. “It’s unfortunate that Republicans released a one-sided, partisan press release instead of being willing to work with all members of the committee to get to the bottom of this important topic.”


READ: Full indictment in United States v. Aimee Marie Bock, et al

Click below to read the full indictment in the case against Feeding Our Future founder Aimee Marie Bock, and 13 others.

Feeding Our Future took millions in federal money in 2020. The money was supposed to be used to feed needy kids in Minnesota.

Instead investigators say it was used to buy houses, resort property, luxury cars, jewelry and more.

Investigators say the fraud took place between April 2020 and January 2022.


Some defendants out of the country, some arrested

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said some of the defendants charged are “not in the country at this time.” He did not give an exact number.

He said “the rest are going through processing right now,” and added that some have been arrested and are already set to appear in court.


VIDEO: DOJ announces massive alleged fraud scheme

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said 47 people have been charged in connection with “the largest pandemic fraud in the United States.”

The indictments announced Tuesday involve six groups, all connected to the larger group Feeding Our Future — a Twin Cities nonprofit.

Watch a segment below of the beginning of the presser. Follow WCCO all day for updates on this case. 


Authorities have seized $50 million worth of property from alleged fraudsters

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said authorities have seized $50 million worth of property from a group of people charged in what he called “the ultimate get rich quick scheme.”

Those seizures included 60 bank accounts, 45 “parcels of real property,” 14 vehicles, jewelry and other items, Luger said.


U.S. attorney says alleged fraudsters falsified documents, made up children’s names

To perpetuate an alleged quarter-billion dollar fraud scheme, dozens of people connected to a Twin Cities nonprofit made up false rosters of children and reported unserved meals on documents, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said.

People working at allegedly fraudulent food sites for needy children would report the exact same amount of meals served, day after day, week after week, Luger said. These sites were sponsored by Feeding Our Future.

When reporting rosters of the children who were fed, some of the defendants allegedly used a website to generate random names. Authorities discovered some of the children’s ages would vary between forms. Authorities also cross-referenced the rosters with those of the schools where some of the food sites were purportedly hosted, finding only a small number of the names matched.

“These children were simply invented,” Luger said.

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CBS NEWS

47 charged in connection with Feeding Our Future “fraud”

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said 47 people have been charged in connection with “the largest pandemic fraud in the United States.”

Luger said the defendants are charged with federal crimes including “conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and paying and receiving illegal kickbacks.”

Luger said the defendants took $250 million from a federal child nutrition program, which was to be used to “feed needy children.” Instead, Luger alleges, the defendants “primarily pocketed the money for themselves.”

The indictments announced Tuesday involve six groups, all connected to the larger group Feeding Our Future.

Feeding our Future – a Twin Cities nonprofit that claimed to be feeding tens of thousands of hungry children – dissolved in February amid the federal investigation into the alleged large-scale fraud scheme.

In January, federal agents executed search warrants on more than a dozen properties connected to the nonprofit, as FBI warrants alleged a pattern of deception, money laundering and fraud. Investigators said almost none of the money went towards feeding children and instead had been laundered through shell organizations before it was spent on cars and luxury properties.

Feeding Our Future said it provided meals to more than 30,000 children in BIPOC communities throughout the Twin Cities and “did a lot of great work for the community,” especially during the pandemic.

The nonprofit was founded in 2017, and went from taking $2.9 million in federal funding to more than $197 million in 2021.

Full list of those charged in alleged fraud

What follows is a full list of the persons charged in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota’s case against Feeding Our Future and connected parties:

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CBS NEWS

The following defendants are named in the United States v. Aimee Marie Bock, et al. indictment:

  • Aimee Marie Bock, 41, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery. Bock was the founder and executive director of Feeding Our Future. Bock oversaw the $240 million fraud scheme carried out by sites under Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship.
  • Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh, 39, of Burnsville, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Eidleh was an employee of Feeding Our Future who solicited and received bribes and kickbacks from individuals and sites under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. Eidleh also created his own fraudulent sites.
  • Salim Ahmed Said, 33, of Plymouth, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Said was an owner and operator of Safari Restaurant, a site that received more than $16 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Abdulkadir Nur Salah, 36, of Columbia Heights, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdulkadir Salah was an owner and operator of Safari Restaurant, a site that received more than $16 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Ahmed Sharif Omar-Hashim, 39, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Omar-Hashim created a company called Olive Management Inc., a site that received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Abdi Nur Salah, 34, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdi Salah registered Stigma-Free International, a non-profit entity used to carry out the scheme with sites throughout Minnesota, including in Willmar, Mankato, St. Cloud, Waite Park, and St. Paul.
  • Abdihakim Ali Ahmed, 36, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdihakim Ahmed created ASA Limited LLC, a site that received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Ahmed Mohamed Artan, 37, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Artan registered Stigma-Free International, a non-profit entity used to carry out the scheme with sites throughout Minnesota, including in Willmar, Mankato, St. Cloud, Waite Park, and St. Paul.
  • Abdikadir Ainanshe Mohamud, 30, of Fridley, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Mohamud ran the Stigma-Free Willmar site. This site claimed to have served approximately 1.6 million meals and received more than $4 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Abdinasir Mahamed Abshir, 30, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdinasir Abshir ran the Stigma-Free Mankato site. This site claimed to have served more than 1.6 million meals and received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Asad Mohamed Abshir, 32, of Mankato, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Asad Abshir ran the Stigma-Free Mankato site. This site claimed to have served more than 1.6 million meals and received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Hamdi Hussein Omar, 26, of St. Paul, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Omar ran the Stigma-Free Waite Park site. This site claimed to have served more than 500,000 meals and received more than $1 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Ahmed Abdullahi Ghedi, 32, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ghedi created ASA Limited LLC, a site that received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed, 54, of Columbus, Ohio, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Abdirahman Ahmed was an owner and operator of Safari Restaurant, a site that received more than $16 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

The following defendants are named in the United States v. Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, et al. indictment:

  • Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, 33, of Savage, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and false statements in a passport application. Abdiaziz Farah was an owner and operator of Empire Cuisine and Market LLC, a for-profit restaurant that participated in the scheme as a site, as a vendor for other sites, and as an entity to launder fraudulent proceeds. Empire Cuisine and Market and other affiliated sites received more than $28 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Mohamed Jama Ismail, 49, of Savage, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ismail was an owner and operator of Empire Cuisine and Market LLC, a for-profit restaurant that participated in the scheme as a site, as a vendor for other sites, and as an entity to launder fraudulent proceeds. Empire Cuisine and Market and other affiliated sites received more than $28 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Mahad Ibrahim, 46, of Lewis Center, Ohio, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ibrahim was the president and owner of ThinkTechAct Foundation, a Minnesota non-profit organization that also operated under the name Mind Foundry Learning Foundation. ThinkTechAct and Mind Foundry created dozens of sites throughout Minnesota, including in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Burnsville, Faribault, Owatonna, Shakopee, Circle Pines, and Willmar. ThinkTechAct received more than $18 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, 21, of Shakopee, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdimajid Nur created Nur Consulting LLC to receive and launder Federal Child Nutrition Program funds from Empire Cuisine and Market, ThinkTechAct, and other entities involved in the scheme.
  • Said Shafii Farah, 40, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Said Farah, the brother of Abdiaziz Farah, was an owner of Bushra Wholesalers LLC, a shell company used to launder fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin, 32, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Aftin was an owner of Bushra Wholesalers LLC, a shell company used to launder fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff, 31, of Bloomington, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Shariff was the chief executive officer of Afrique Hospitality Group, a shell company used to fraudulent obtain and launder Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Hayat Mohamed Nur, 25, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Hayat Nur, the sister of Abdimajid Nur, participated in the scheme by creating and submitting fraudulent meal count sheets, attendance rosters, and invoices.

The following defendants are named in the United States v. Qamar Ahmed Hassan, et al. indictment:

  • Qamar Ahmed Hassan, 53, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Hassan was the owner and operator of S & S Catering Inc., a for-profit restaurant and catering business that participated in the scheme as a distribution site and as a vendor for other sites. S & S Catering received more than $18 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Sahra Mohamed Nur, 61, of Saint Anthony, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Nur ran a site called Academy For Youth Excellence that used S & S Catering as a vendor.
  • Abdiwahab Ahmed Mohamud, 32, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Mohamud ran a site called Academy For Youth Excellence that used S & S Catering as a vendor.
  • Filsan Mumin Hassan, 28, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Hassan ran a site called Youth Higher Educational Achievement that falsely claimed to serve up to 4,300 meals a day.
  • Guhaad Hashi Said, 46, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Hashi ran a site under the name Advance Youth Athletic Development that falsely claimed to serve up to 5,000 meals a day.
  • Abdullahe Nur Jesow, 62, of Columbia Heights, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Jesow ran a site called Academy For Youth Excellence that used S & S Catering as a vendor.
  • Abdul Abubakar Ali, 40, of St. Paul, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Abdul Ali ran a site called Youth Inventors Lab that falsely claimed to have served a total of approximately 1.5 million meals in a seven-month period.
  • Yusuf Bashir Ali, 40, of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Yusuf Ali ran a site called Youth Inventors Lab that falsely claimed to have served a total of approximately 1.5 million meals in a seven-month period.

The following defendants are named in the United States v. Haji Osman Salad, et al. indictment:

  • Haji Osman Salad, 32, of St. Anthony, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Salad was the principal of Haji’s Kitchen and received approximately $11.6 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Fahad Nur, 38, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Nur was the principal of The Produce LLC, a vendor and purported food supplier who received more than $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Anab Artan Awad, 52, of Plymouth, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Awad was the president of Multiple Community Services, MCA. Awad claimed more than $11 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Sharmarke Issa, 40, of Edina, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Issa created a company called Minnesota’s Somali Community and was the manager of Wacan Restaurant LLC. Issa fraudulently caused MDE to pay out more than $7.4 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Farhiya Mohamud, 63, of Bloomington, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Mohamud was the principal and CEO of Dua Supplies and Distribution Inc., a shell company that laundered millions of dollars of fraudulently obtained Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

The following defendants are named in the United States v. Liban Yasin Alishire, et al. indictment:

  • Liban Yasin Alishire, 42, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, and money laundering. Alishire was the president and owner of Community Enhancement Services, Inc., a company located in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis. Community Enhancement Services was a cultural mall owned and operated by Alishire and co-defendant Khadar Jigre Adan. Community Enhancement Services received more than $1.6 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Ahmed Yasin Ali, 57, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Ali created a second program site, run by Lake Street Kitchen, and located in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis.
  • Khadar Jigre Adan, 59, of Lakeville, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Adan was the CEO of Lake Street Kitchen, which was a program site located in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis.

The following defendants are named in the United States v. Sharmake Jama, et al. indictment:

  • Sharmake Jama, 34, of Rochester, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Sharmake Jama was a principal of Brava Restaurant and Café LLC. Brava Restaurant received approximately $4.3 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.
  • Ayan Jama, 43, of Rochester, Minnesota is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ayan Jama was a principal of Brava Restaurant and Café LLC. Ayan Jama also created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.
  • Asha Jama, 39, of Lakeville, Minnesota is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Asha Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.
  • Fartun Jama, 35, of Rosemount, Minnesota is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Fartun Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.
  • Mustafa Jama, 45, of Rochester, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Mustafa Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.
  • Zamzam Jama, 48, of Rochester, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Zamzam Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.

Criminal informations:

  • Bekam Addissu Merdassa, 39, of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
  • Hadith Yusuf Ahmed, 34, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
  • Hanna Marekegn, 40, of Edina, Minnesota, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
BY WCCO STAFF

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