Two Columbus-area men have been charged with participating in a scheme that diverted $250 million intended to feeding hungry children.
Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed, 54 and Mahad Ibrahim, 46 are alleged by the United States Department of Justice to be part of a 47-person fraud ring. The group allegedly stole Federal Child Nutrition Program payments made to Feed Our Future, a Minnesota nonprofit designed to provide food for hungry children.
According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the ring served as “the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme to date.”
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The 47 defendants are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery.
“This was a brazen scheme of staggering proportions,” U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger for the District of Minnesota said in a press release. “These defendants exploited a program designed to provide nutritious food to needy children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they prioritized their own greed, stealing more than a quarter of a billion dollars in federal funds to purchase luxury cars, houses, jewelry, and coastal resort property abroad.”
Aimee Bock, the founder and executive director of Feed Our Future was charged, in addition to other Feed Our Future employees.
During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government eased its requirements for entities receiving federal funds to feed children. Feed Our Future employees allegedly recruited individuals to open Federal Child Nutrition Program sites throughout the state of Minnesota at this time. They then submitted fake documentation, including fraudulent meal count sheets, for food that was never given to children, and distributed the reimbursement to the individuals involved in the scheme.
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