Five Convicted in $40 Million Federal Food Aid Scam


Following a seven-week trial, a jury has convicted five individuals for their involvement in exploiting government funds designated for feeding low-income children during after-school hours and summer breaks.

The defendants secured over $40 million from the Department of Agriculture, purportedly to provide 18 million meals at 50 different food sites throughout Minnesota, under the supervision of nonprofit organizations Partners in Nutrition and Feeding Our Future.

Two of the defendants were acquitted, while 63 others charged in connection with the scheme are still awaiting trial. The FBI has described this case as the largest COVID-19 pandemic fraud in the United States, with an alleged $250 million stolen.

“The verdict confirms what we’ve known all along, which is that defendants falsified documents, they lied and they fraudulently claimed to be feeding millions of meals to children in Minnesota during COVID,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thompson said in a news conference after the verdicts were announced in Minneapolis. “The defendants took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud the state of Minnesota and to steal tens of millions of dollars.”

The seven defendants faced a total of 41 counts, including money laundering and wire fraud. Prosecutors demonstrated that the defendants submitted fake invoices and rosters with fabricated children’s names. More than 30 witnesses testified, revealing that very few to no meals were actually served, and FBI agents traced the funds to personal expenses.

The jury was sequestered for four nights after a juror reported that a woman had dropped $120,000 in cash in front of her home, offering additional money if the juror found the defendants not guilty. This 23-year-old juror was dismissed from the case, along with another juror who learned about the incident from a family member.

Elaine Mallon
Elaine Mallon
Breaking news reporter.

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