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2015

Aimee Bock and Kara Lomen form Partners in Quality Care, which is also known as Partners in Nutrition. The non-profit distributed federal food aid to smaller nonprofits, religious institutions, and afterschool programs to feed children. 

2016

Aimee Bock and Kara Lomen form Feeding Our Future, which similarly acts as a sponsor organization to distribute federal food aid to smaller organizations to feed children. 

2018

Aimee Bock and Kara Lomen have a falling out, and Lomen asks Bock to leave Partners in Quality Care. Bock takes control of Feeding Our Future and starts building it up as a competitor to Partners in Quality Care. 

March 2020

The World Health Organization declares coronavirus a global pandemic. Schools across the United States move to virtual learning and shut down school lunches.

The federal government relaxed requirements for states accessing federal Child Nutrition Programs money, which is earmarked to feed underprivileged children. The Minnesota Department of Education distributes the federal money to sponsor organizations, including Feeding Our Future and Partners in Quality Care, who disseminate it further to smaller vendors who work with them to feed children.

Feeding Our Future and Partners in Quality Care, which were using the federal funds before COVID, begin greatly increasing the number of vendors working with them.

July 2020

Safari Restaurant, a popular Minneapolis restaurant, reports feeding 5,000 children per day while working as a vendor for Feeding Our Future. 

The Minnesota Department of Education tells Feeding our Future that it’s concerned about its rapidly growing number of vendors, which are also called food sites. 

October 2020

Kara Lomen sends a letter to the education department alleging a “fraud ring” centered on the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program involving “child care centers, SFSP [Summer Food Service Program] park sites, at least one restaurant and a sponsoring organization.”

The education department brings concerns about Feeding Our Future’s growth to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers Child Nutrition Programs money. 

November 2020

Feeding Our Future sues the education department for failing to timely process its applications from new and existing food sites to receive more federal food-aid money. The organization claims the department’s refusal is discrimination and is causing children of color served by Feeding Our Future to go hungry.

December 2020

The education department denies several new and renewal applications from food sites working with Feeding Our Future. By year’s end, Feeding Our Future has received $43 million in federal Child Nutrition Programs money. Partners in Quality Care received $21 million. 

March 2021

Feeding Our Future submits meal counts to the Minnesota Department of Education reporting that one of its vendors, Safari Restaurant, is feeding breakfast and lunch to 6,000 children every day, seven days a week that month–a total of 185,903 children. Safari receives $1 million in federal food-aid funds.

The Minnesota Department of Education announces it will pause federal funding to 26 nonprofits that work with Feeding Our Future. In a letter to Feeding Our Future, the education department blames Feeding Our Future’s executive director Aimee Bock and board president Benjamin Stayberg for “serious deficiencies” and poor bookkeeping.

April 2021

A state judge rules that the Department of Education acted too quickly in halting funding to Feeding Our Future, and orders the department to resume federal food-aid payments to the organization.

The education department, still suspecting fraud, contacts the FBI. 

May 2021

The FBI begins its investigation.

The Minnesota Department of Education reinstates funding to the 26 nonprofits working with Feeding Our Future. However, the department continues rejecting applications from Feeding Our Future to add new food sites under its stewardship.

Summer 2021

Aimee Bock’s boyfriend allegedly spends more than $40,000 of the Child Nutrition Programs money on a weeklong trip to Las Vegas. There, he allegedly pays $21,000 for a rental car, $9,000 at Caesar’s Palace, $6,700 at Gucci, and $3,500 at Louis Vuitton.

October 2021

Aimee Bock allegedly spends $15,000 in federal money at Walser car dealership.

December 2021

By year’s end, Feeding Our Future has received $198 million in federal Child Nutrition money. Partners in Quality Care has received $191 million. 

January 2022

Magistrate Judge Tony Leung signs three search warrants from the FBI authorizing searches of Feeding Our Future and related entities.

The FBI raids at least 15 properties, including Feeding Our Future’s St. Anthony office and Aimee Bock’s home. The U.S. Attorney’s Office unseals three search warrants in the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office files a lawsuit to recover 14 properties allegedly bought with federal food-aid money.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey vows to return or donate campaign donations made to him by men named in the FBI search warrants. 

Abdiaziz Farah, a co-owner of Empire Cuisine & Market implicated in the fraud investigation, takes an unpaid leave from his position as executive director of the Burnsville charter school Gateway STEM Academy.

February 2022

Feeding Our Future begins the process of dissolving as an organization. 

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar donates campaign contributions she received from men named in the search warrants to food shelves. 

State Senator Omar Fateh, DFL-Minneapolis, returns donations he received from men implicated in the scandal. 

Abdi Salah and Sharmarke Issa leave their Minneapolis city government roles after being implicated in the scandal. 

April 2022

Federal agents arrest Mohamed Jama Ismail, another co-owner of Empire Cuisine & Market who is implicated in the food fraud investigation, on an airport jetway as he’s leaving for Kenya. Prosecutors charge Mohamed with passport fraud and allege that he was attempting to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

The state Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee begins hearing testimony from Minnesota Department of Education officials about the alleged food-aid fraud. A number of hearings are held in the following weeks.

May 2022

Federal prosecutors file a passport fraud charge against Abdiaziz Farah. 

August 2022

Mohamed Jama Ismail pleads guilty to passport fraud charges. 

September 2022

Partners in Quality Care sues the Minnesota Department of Education for halting and denying its request for food-aid money.

The state Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee issues a report faulting the Minnesota Department of Education for “magnifying” the food-aid fraud by improperly managing the funds, and by scaling back visits to food sites that were supposed to vet their work, among other reasons.

September 2022

Federal prosecutors file the first financial fraud indictments against 48 suspects implicated in the investigation. 

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Joey Peters

Joey Peters is a reporter for Sahan Journal. His work has appeared in Reuters, Public Radio International, Columbia Journalism Review, KFAI Radio, the Pioneer Press, City Pages, MinnPost and more. He previously...