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  • Former Mayor of Adelanto Arrested on Wire Fraud and Bribery Charges Alleging Illicit Payments for Support of Commercial Marijuana Activity

                                                                                  Press Release                                                                      Friday, August 13, 2021RIVERSIDE, California – The former mayor of Adelanto was arrested today by special agents of the FBI on a federal grand jury indictment alleging he accepted more than $57,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for approving ordinances authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activity within the city, and ensuring his co-schemers obtained city licenses or permits authorizing certain commercial marijuana activities.

              Richard Allen Kerr, 64, of Adelanto, was taken into federal custody without incident this morning. He is charged with seven counts of honest services wire fraud and two counts of bribery.

              Kerr, who served as Adelanto’s mayor from 2014 to 2018, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside.

              According to the indictment returned on August 11, as part of his official duties, Kerr voted on ordinances governing zoning regulations in the city and served on Adelanto’s Cannabis Dispensary Permit Committee, which determined the number of dispensary permits that would be issued and which applicants would receive them.

              As mayor, Kerr supported marijuana legalization, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing marijuana cultivation in the city, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, and voted to authorize the distribution, transportation, and testing of medical marijuana, among other commercial marijuana activities. At the same time, Kerr secretly used his official position to enrich himself and his co-schemers bypassing these same ordinances, according to the indictment.

              Kerr allegedly also drafted zones for commercial marijuana activities to include locations used by his co-schemers, and he ensured they obtained the licenses and permits they sought – in exchange for bribes, kickbacks, and gifts.

              Kerr’s alleged co-schemers were a lawyer who specialized in plaintiffs’ tort litigation – identified in the indictment as “Person A” – and two individuals – labeled “Person C and “Person D” – who had business interests in the city, including those involving marijuana cultivation.

              The bribes and kickbacks were disguised by Kerr and his co-schemers as gifts, donations to a charitable fund, donations to Kerr’s election campaign, or advance payments for the proceeds of planned litigation associated with a motorcycle accident.

              In exchange for the bribes and kickbacks, Kerr provided favorable official action on behalf of the city to Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers with business interests in the city by authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activities, ensuring his supporters obtained the licenses or permits they sought and interfering with enforcement activities by city officials.

              For example, on November 29, 2016, the Adelanto City Council held a public discussion related to an ordinance, including a discussion of “overlay zones” within which medical marijuana dispensaries would be located. The initial proposal included two zones, neither of which included a former restaurant – purchased two months earlier by Person A and his spouse.

              During the discussion, Kerr requested a change in the boundaries of the second overlay zone, which expanded the zone to include Person A’s business. The plans for the business initially called for the building to be an attorney’s office, although they included items such as “elongated sales counters,” a “dispensing room,” “cashier,” and “security room,” the indictment alleges.

              On December 5, 2016, Kerr deposited a $5,000 check – dated November 29, 2016 – from Person A’s real estate trust account into his bank account, and the check’s memorandum line read, “ADV XMAS FUND.”

              In May 2017, Kerr voted twice in favor of a city ordinance that included Person A’s business in the marijuana dispensary overlay zone. In February, June, and August of 2017, Kerr deposited three $10,000 checks from Person A’s law firm, with the memorandum lines of each check stating, “ADVANCE.”

              In total, Kerr accepted at least $57,500 in bribes and kickbacks from Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers.

              An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

              If convicted of all charges, Kerr would face a statutory maximum sentence of 160 years in federal prison.

              The FBI investigated this matter.

              Assistant United States Attorney Sean D. Peterson of the Riverside Branch Office is prosecuting this case

    Source: FBI

  • U.S. Attorney Announces Federal Charges Against 47 Defendants in $250 Million Feeding Our Future Fraud Scheme

    Nonprofit Feeding Our Future and 200+ Meal Sites in Minnesota Perpetrated the Largest COVID-19 Fraud Scheme in the Nation

    The Department of Justice announced today federal criminal charges against 47 defendants for their alleged roles in a $250 million fraud scheme that exploited a federally-funded child nutrition program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “These indictments, alleging the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme charged to date, underscore the Department of Justice’s sustained commitment to combating pandemic fraud and holding accountable those who perpetrate it,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “In partnership with agencies across government, the Justice Department will continue to bring to justice those who have exploited the pandemic for personal gain and stolen from American taxpayers.”

    “Today’s indictments describe an egregious plot to steal public funds meant to care for children in need in what amounts to the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme yet,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The defendants went to great lengths to exploit a program designed to feed underserved children in Minnesota amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudulently diverting millions of dollars designated for the program for their own personal gain. These charges send the message that the FBI and our law enforcement partners remain vigilant and will vigorously pursue those who attempt to enrich themselves through fraudulent means.”

    “This was a brazen scheme of staggering proportions,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger for the District of Minnesota. “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. I commend the work of the skilled investigators and prosecutors who unraveled the lies, deception, and mountains of false documentation to bring this complex case to light.”

    The 47 defendants are charged across six separate indictments and three criminal informations with charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery.

    As outlined in the charging documents, the defendants devised and carried out a massive scheme to defraud the Federal Child Nutrition Program. The defendants obtained, misappropriated, and laundered millions of dollars in program funds that were intended as reimbursements for the cost of serving meals to children. The defendants exploited changes in the program intended to ensure underserved children received adequate nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than feed children, the defendants enriched themselves by fraudulently misappropriating millions of dollars in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    The Federal Child Nutrition Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a federally-funded program designed to provide free meals to children in need. The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers the program throughout the nation by distributing federal funds to state governments. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) administers and oversees the Federal Child Nutrition Program. Meals funded by the Federal Child Nutrition Program are served by “sites.” Each site participating in the program must be sponsored by an authorized sponsoring organization. Sponsors must submit an application to MDE for each site. Sponsors are also responsible for monitoring each of their sites and preparing reimbursement claims for their sites. The USDA then provides MDE federal reimbursement funds on a per-meal basis. MDE provides those funds to the sponsoring agency who, in turn, pays the reimbursements to the sites under its sponsorship. The sponsoring agency retains 10 to 15 percent of the funds as an administrative fee.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA waived some of the standard requirements for participation in the Federal Child Nutrition Program. Among other things, the USDA allowed for-profit restaurants to participate in the program, as well as allowed for off-site food distribution to children outside of educational programs.

    Aimee Bock was the founder and executive director of Feeding Our Future, a nonprofit organization that was a sponsor participating in the Federal Child Nutrition Program. The indictments charge Bock with overseeing a massive fraud scheme carried out by sites under Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship. Feeding Our Future went from receiving and disbursing approximately $3.4 million in federal funds in 2019 to nearly $200 million in 2021.

    As part of the charged scheme, Feeding Our Future employees recruited individuals and entities to open Federal Child Nutrition Program sites throughout the state of Minnesota. These sites, created and operated by the defendants and others, fraudulently claimed to be serving meals to thousands of children a day within just days or weeks of being formed. The defendants created dozens of shell companies to enroll in the program as Federal Child Nutrition Program sites. The defendants also created shell companies to receive and launder the proceeds of their fraudulent scheme.

    To carry out the scheme, the defendants also created and submitted false documentation. They submitted fraudulent meal count sheets purporting to document the number of children and meals served at each site. The defendants submitted false invoices purporting to document the purchase of food to be served to children at the sites. The defendants also submitted fake attendance rosters purporting to list the names and ages of the children receiving meals at the sites each day. These rosters were fabricated and created using fake names. For example, one roster was created using names from a website called “www.listofrandomnames.com.” Because the program only reimbursed for meals served to children, other defendants used an Excel formula to insert a random age between seven and 17 into the age column of the rosters.

    Despite knowing the claims were fraudulent, Feeding Our Future submitted the fraudulent claims to MDE and then disbursed the fraudulently obtained Federal Child Nutrition Program funds to the individuals and entities involved in the scheme.

    In exchange for sponsoring these sites’ fraudulent participation in the program, Feeding Our Future received more than $18 million in administrative fees to which it was not entitled. In addition to the administrative fees, Feeding Our Future employees solicited and received bribes and kickbacks from individuals and companies sponsored by Feeding Our Future. Many of these kickbacks were paid in cash or disguised as “consulting fees” paid to shell companies created by Feeding Our Future employees to make them appear legitimate.

    When MDE attempted to perform necessary oversight regarding the number of sites and amount of claims being submitted, Bock and Feeding Our Future gave false assurances that they were monitoring the sites under its sponsorship and that the sites were serving the meals as claimed. When MDE employees pressed Bock for clarification, Bock accused MDE of discrimination and unfairly scrutinizing Feeding Our Future’s sites. When MDE denied Feeding Our Future site applications, Bock and Feeding Our Future filed a lawsuit accusing MDE of denying the site applications due to discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

    In total, Feeding Our Future opened more than 250 sites throughout the state of Minnesota and fraudulently obtained and disbursed more than $240 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds. The defendants used the proceeds of their fraudulent scheme to purchase luxury vehicles, residential and commercial real estate in Minnesota as well as property in Ohio and Kentucky, real estate in Kenya and Turkey, and to fund international travel.

    “Exploiting a government program intended to feed children at the time of a national crisis is the epitome of greed,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. “As alleged, the defendants charged in this case chose to enrich themselves at the expense of children. Instead of feeding the future, they chose to steal from the future. IRS – Criminal Investigation is pleased to join our law enforcement partners to hold these defendants accountable.”

    United States v. Aimee Marie Bock, et al., 22-CR-223 (NEB/TNL), charges 14 defendants 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 for their roles the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In April 2020, Safari Restaurant enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The owners of Safari Restaurant and their co-conspirators opened additional sites throughout the state of Minnesota, as well as dozens of shell companies. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $32 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and travel.

    United States v. Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, et al., 22-CR-124 (NEB/TNL), charges eight defendants with conspiracy, wire fraud, federal programs bribery, and money laundering for their roles the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In April 2020, Empire Cuisine and Market LLC enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future and Sponsor A. The owners of Empire Cuisine and Market LLC and their co-conspirators opened additional sites throughout the state of Minnesota, as well as dozens of shell companies. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $40 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, travel, real estate, and property in Kenya.

    United States v. Qamar Ahmed Hassan, et al., 22-CR-224 (NEB/TNL), charges eight defendants with conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering for their roles the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In August 2020, S & S Catering Inc. enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The owner of S & S Catering and other co-conspirators opened sites across the Twin Cities and claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $18 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles and real estate.

    United States v. Haji Osman Salad, et al., 22-CR-226 (NEB/TNL), charges five defendants with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering for their roles in the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. The owner of Haji’s Kitchen LLC and other co-conspirators enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future and Sponsor A. The co-conspirators opened sites across the state of Minnesota, as well as multiple shell companies. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $25 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and travel.

    United States v. Liban Yasin Alishire, et al., 22-CR-222 (NEB/TML), charges three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs, federal programs bribery, and money laundering for their roles in the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. The owner of Community Enhancement Services Inc. and other co-conspirators opened multiple sites and shell companies in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served hundreds of thousands of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $1.6 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and beach property in Kenya.

    United States v. Sharmake Jama, et al., 22-CR-225 (NEB/TNL), charges six defendants with wire fraud, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering for their roles in the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In September 2020, Brava Restaurant & Café LLC, a site located in Rochester, Minnesota, enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The owners of Brava Restaurant & Café and other co-conspirators claimed to have served millions of meals from Brava Restaurant & Café and falsely claimed to have a contract with Rochester Public Schools. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received approximately $4.3 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and property on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

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    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.

    United States Attorney Andrew Luger thanked the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their collaboration and skilled investigative work in bringing these indictments.

    Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph H. Thompson, Harry M. Jacobs, Chelsea A. Walcker, Matthew S. Ebert, and Joseph S. Teirab for the District of Minnesota are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Baune is handling the seizure and forfeiture of assets.

    An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

    Source-FBI

  • Justice Department Launches Nationwide Initiative to Combat Unlawful Acts of Hate

    Sixteen Districts, Including Western Washington, Will Roll Out Programs this Fall WASHINGTON – Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced today during the White House United We Stand Summit that over the next year, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) will host a new nationwide initiative to combat unlawful acts of hate. The United Against Hate program is convening local forums that connect community groups to federal, state, and local law enforcement to increase community understanding and reporting of hate crimes; build trust between law enforcement and communities; and create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement and other government partners and community groups to combat unlawful acts of hate. “The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing federal hate crime laws,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “That is why the Justice Department has launched its new United Against Hate program. This initiative brings together community groups, community leaders, and law enforcement at every level to build trust and strengthen coordination to combat unlawful acts of hate.” The first cohort of 16 USAOs rolling out United Against Hate programs this fall includes the following districts: Arizona, Central District of California, Eastern District of California, Connecticut, Idaho, Middle District of Louisiana, Southern District of New York, Western District of New York, Southern District of Ohio, Middle District of Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Virginia, Vermont, Western District of Washington, and Western District of Wisconsin. The Department will expand the United Against Hate program to all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices next year. “It is my hope that this program will help connect our office and federal partners to cities and communities throughout Western Washington, where we can increase awareness and reporting of bias crimes and race-based threats,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “We all have a role to play in reporting acts of hate or hate speech that may be an early indicator of the troubling violence we are seeing too often in our communities.” “U.S. Attorneys are critical partners in the Justice Department’s efforts to respond to hate crimes in communities across our country,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The stronger the ties between communities and law enforcement, the more faith that communities will have that their allegations will be investigated and taken seriously. This moment requires an all-hands-on-deck strategy to fully confront unlawful acts of hate. The United Against Hate program brings together the vast network of civil rights, government, faith, and community-based leaders needed to improve reporting, promote prevention strategies and build the resilience needed to confront hate crimes and incidents.” “To effectively reduce hate crimes at the local level, it’s important to garner community buy-in,” said Director Monty Wilkinson of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA). “That means building relationships with community leaders and residents, listening to their description of their community’s needs and priorities, and then effectively communicating how USAOs and other Justice Department efforts can address those issues and help to increase public safety. This program will build bridges among community members and law enforcement, helping them to work together to combat unlawful acts of hate.” Through using hypothetical scenarios and video clips depicting real-life hate crime cases and stories, United Against Hate promotes robust interaction between community members and law enforcement participants. Program topics include: defining hate crimes versus hate incidents; the importance of reporting unlawful acts of hate; providing options for responding to hate incidents when situations do not constitute a federal or state crime; and distinguishing unlawful conduct from protected First Amendment activity, including identifying protected speech versus speech that advocates violence or encourages people to commit hate crimes. The launch follows a successful pilot of the program last spring by three USAOs — New Jersey, Massachusetts, and the Eastern District of Washington. Attorney General Garland announced the conclusion of the pilot for the United Against Hate program at a Justice Department event in May commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Attorney General’s memorandum on improving the Department’s efforts to combat unlawful acts of hate and the enactment of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes and Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Acts. Development of the United Against Hate program was led by the Civil Rights Division. EOUSA and other components in the Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative, including the Community Relations Service, the Community Oriented Policing Services Office, the FBI, and the Office of Justice Programs, provided critical assistance in developing the program.

    Source-FBI

  • Consultant Pleads Guilty to Providing Bribes to Public Officials to Benefit Clients

    CHICAGO — A consultant pleaded guilty in federal court today to offering and providing bribes to public officials in an effort to benefit his clients. ROBERTO CALDERO, 69, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. The conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Steven C. Seeger set sentencing for Dec. 15, 2022. The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Ashley T. Johnson, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The Chicago Public Schools Office of Inspector General participated in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kramer. Caldero admitted in a plea agreement that in 2016 he offered and arranged for bribes to be provided to a City of Chicago alderman and a Chicago Public Schools employee in exchange for them taking official actions to benefit Caldero’s clients, who were seeking a custodial services contract at CPS, an honorary street name designation in Chicago, and the renaming of a parcel of property believed to be a Chicago Park District park. The benefits Caldero offered the CPS employee included the prospect of future employment, champagne, discounted event space for a family event, and admission to an annual benefit for a museum. To influence the alderman, Caldero arranged for campaign contributions to be made to political organizations affiliated with the alderman or his ward. Unbeknownst to Caldero, the alderman was cooperating with the FBI.

    Source-FBI

  • FBI Deputy Director Meets With Five Eyes Partners on Shared Crime and Security Threats

    FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate traveled to Sydney, Australia, this past week for meetings with the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG). The international gathering brought together law enforcement leaders from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The partners discussed mutual challenges in countering global crime and national security threats.

    Raymond P. Duda, assistant director of the FBI’s International Operations Division, also participated in the FELEG discussions.

    Throughout the meetings, Deputy Director Abbate emphasized the commitment of the law enforcement partners to share information and expertise and the importance of maintaining and further developing these essential relationships to better protect citizens in all five nations and around the world.

    Source-FBI

    Read-Helplessness in the Face of Dirt

    -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • FBI Tech Tuesday: Beware of Romance Scams

                                                                             Press Release

    PHOENIX, AZ—Falling in love or falling victim? They could be one and the same. FBI Phoenix wants to educate the public on romance scams, also known as confidence fraud.

    Romance scams occur when an individual believes they are in a relationship (family, friendly, or romantic) and are tricked into sending money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the fraudster. This includes the Grandparent’s Scheme and any scheme in which the perpetrator preys on the victim’s “heartstrings”.

    According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), 651 Arizona victims reported losses of more than $20.9 million in connection with confidence fraud/romance scams in 2021. That’s about a 65% increase from the more than $12 million Arizona residents reported losing in 2020.

    The FBI suggests these tips if you develop a relationship with someone online:

    Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.

    Never provide your financial information or loan money to someone online. Do not allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds. Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.

    If you are traveling to a foreign country to meet someone check the State Department’s Travel Advisories beforehand Travel, provide your itinerary to family and friends, and do not travel alone if possible.

    Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”

    Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.

    Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse as to why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, you have good reason to be suspicious.

    If you are planning to meet someone in person you have met online, meet in a public place, and let someone know where you will be and what time you should return home.

    Victims may be hesitant to report being taken advantage of due to embarrassment, shame, or humiliation. It’s important to remember, romance scams can happen to anyone at any time.

    If you suspect your online relationship is a scam, cease all contact immediately. If you are a victim who has already sent money, immediately report the incident to your financial institution. Then inform your local law enforcement agency or FBI Phoenix at (623) 466-1999. Victims are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI at ic3.gov.

    For more information on romance scams, visitClick

    Source-FBI

    Read -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

              -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

              -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

              -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • Drug Dealer Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison

    PITTSBURGH, PA – Bobby Askew was sentenced to 27 months in prison for distributing fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine, including within 1,000 feet of a school in Butler, Pennsylvania, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

    Askew, age 39, formerlyof Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by United States District Judge Robert J. Colville. Judge Colville ordered that Askew serve six years of supervised release following his prison term.

    In 2009, Askew was convicted of crack cocaine trafficking in Philadelphia. He was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in state prison. After being paroled from state prison, he relocated to Butler in Butler County and trafficked fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine as part of a Butler-based drug trafficking crew. Askew dealt these drugs on a regular basis between 2017 and 2020, including within 1,000 feet of multiple schools in Butler.

    Assistant United States Attorneys Yvonne M. Saadi and Craig W. Haller prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

    The Pennsylvania State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Butler County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force led the investigation leading to the conviction and sentence in this case.

    Source-FBI

    Also read-Legalizing Crime and Criminality

                    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

                    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach  

                    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • Certificate Forgery : Our Members Will Never Encourage Failures- UI NASU

    The Non Academic Staff of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria have declared that despite the poor conditions of service and renumeration they will never engage in acts that would promote certificate forgery.

    They made this declaration through the branch Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union(NASU) of the institution, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo in a chat with People.

    ''Although the working conditions and our salaries are not in tandem with the economic realities of today, we are contented. We never go to the length of encouraging failures, we will never promote failures. There are four major stakeholders in the university system, the NASU, SSANU, NAAT and  ASUU.

    And our goals include ensuring that products of the institution are qualified and credible. Our members will never engage in any illegal  act that would tarnish the image of the institution'', Comrade Arojo opined.

    In most recent  times, empolyees of educational institutions in Nigeria  have connived with individuals to facilitate the availability of ceritificates through the back channel for other purposes.