Exterior shot of the Diana E. Murphy United States Courthouse on May 5, 2022. Credit: Ben Hovland | Sahan Journal

Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger’s office charged 10 more people in the latest wave of indictments in a sprawling federal food-aid fraud investigation.

Sahan Journal has compiled the names of defendants listed in several criminal indictments unsealed on March 13. Prosecutors allege that the suspects stole money from a federal child nutrition program that was earmarked to feed needy children. 

Fifty people were charged in the case last year; six have pleaded guilty.

Federal prosecutors have called the alleged $250 million fraud the largest case of COVID-19 pandemic fraud in the country. 

Indictments unveiled Monday charged suspects with conspiracy to commit wire fraud to steal more than $5 million; another suspect was charged with conspiracy to steal more than $1,000. The charges filed last year include conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery.

The federal government provided funds to sponsor organizations like Feeding Our Future, which distributed that money to smaller groups that were supposed to provide meals to children. Prosecutors say that defendants, many of whom worked with Feeding Our Future, submitted falsified documents to receive more money. Many never fed children at all, prosecutors say. 

The following individuals are named in six charging documents.

  1. Mohamed Ali Hussein, Faribault, president and owner of Somali American Faribault Education (SAFE), a nonprofit organization that operated a food site under Feeding Our Future.
  2. Lul Bashir Ali, Faribault, owner of Lido Restaurant, a food site and meal vendor that purported to provide and serve meals at the Somali American Faribault Education site.
  3. Mulata Ali, manager of Franklyn Transportation in Minneapolis, which was previously identified as a shell company funneling food-aid money.
  4. Kawsar Jama, 41, Eagan, principal of Gedo Community Services and Ahlan Childcare Center Inc.
  5. Abdikadir Kadiye, 51, Minneapolis, president of Hobyo Health Care Foundation.
  6. Abdulkadir Awale, 50, Bloomington, principal of Karmel Coffee and Sambusa King, and the chief executive officer of Nawal Restaurant.
  7. Khadra Abdi, 41, Minneapolis, principal of Shafi’i Tutoring and Homework Help Center.
  8. Ayan Farah Abukar, 41, Savage, founder and executive director of Action for East African People, a nonprofit that provided health, housing, and education services to East Africans across Minnesota. The defendant used the nonprofit to enroll multiple food sites.
  9. Sade Osman Hashi, 45, Minneapolis, chief executive officer of Great Lakes Inc., a food site that also operated as a vendor called Safari Express.
  10. Sharon Ross, 52, Big Lake, executive director of House of Refuge Outreach, a nonprofit organization in St. Paul.

Hibah Ansari is a reporter for Sahan Journal covering immigration and politics. She was named the 2022 Young Journalist of the Year by the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists. She’s a graduate...