DOJ: 47 in Minnesota’s Somali Community Charged with Stealing $250M in COVID-19 Funds from Child Nutrition Program

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Forty-seven individuals, primarily in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s large Somali community, have been charged for their roles in allegedly stealing $250 million in COVID-19 federal funds meant for a child nutrition program.

According to federal prosecutors, the 47 individuals charged across six indictments and three criminal informations committed conspiracy, wire fraud, bribery, and money laundering when they defrauded millions from the Federal Child Nutrition Program during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

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Specifically, the 47 individuals allegedly used COVID-19 changes to the Federal Child Nutrition Program to oversee the massive fraud scheme via the Minneapolis-based Feeding Our Future and the for-profit restaurants as well as the food distribution services sponsored by the nonprofit.

In 2019, Feeding Our Future received and disbursed about $3.4 million in federal funds to feed underprivileged children in the Minneapolis area. By 2021, the nonprofit had received almost $200 million in federal funds.

The scheme included Feeding Our Future allegedly claiming to open more than 250 Federal Child Nutrition Program sites across the state of Minnesota. Most of the 47 individuals claimed to operate these sites by filing fraudulent documents purporting to be feeding children, prosecutors allege.

Feeding Our Future executives, prosecutors claim, knew all along that the fraud was taking place but continued to submit fraudulent documents to secure Federal Child Nutrition Program funds for the sites claiming to be feeding children.

In the process, Feeding Our Future was paid more than $18 million in administrative fees and employees of the nonprofit allegedly accepted bribes and kickbacks. When Minnesota regulators sought to provide oversight to the operation, a Feeding Our Future executive claimed the state was discriminating against the nonprofit.

Most of the individuals charged in the fraud scheme, prosecutors say, used the stolen funds to buy luxury vehicles, residential and commercial real estate, real estate in Kenya and Turkey, and to fund their international travel.

Those charged in the multiple indictments are:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

KARE 11 News reporter Lou Raguse reports that only seven of the 47 individuals were taken into Minnesota law enforcement custody, including two who were previously charged with passport fraud. Some of those have since been released from jail pending trial.

Another individual is in custody after she booked a one-way flight to Ethiopia. Three of the charged individuals have already left the United States.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter here. 

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