Federal Authorities Seize Phones, Arrest Defendants in Juror Bribery Case


Federal authorities in Minnesota have confiscated phones and arrested all seven defendants as they investigate an attempted bribe made to a juror in hopes of influencing a verdict. The juror was offered $120,000 to acquit the defendants of charges related to stealing over $40 million from a program designed to provide meals for children during the pandemic.

After the juror reported the bribe attempt to police, she was dismissed, and a new juror was brought in. Another juror was later replaced after a family member asked about the incident.

The FBI’s investigation revealed that a woman delivered a gift bag to the home of “Juror #52” containing a significant sum of cash and a note instructing the juror to find the defendants not guilty. The juror reported the incident to the police and surrendered the cash to authorities.

Upon learning of the attempted bribe, U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel ordered to confiscate the defendants’ cellphones and take them into custody due to the likelihood of someone with access to the juror’s information being involved in the conspiracy.

The case was sequestered, and the jury deliberated. Any individual involved in the bribery may face federal charges related to bribing and influencing jurors.

FBI spokesperson Diana Freedman declined to provide further details about the investigation. Prosecutors have described the case as one of the most significant COVID-19-related fraud investigations, involving defendants who allegedly misused funds meant for children’s meals.

The trial involved a scheme to exploit pandemic-related regulations and divert funds from the program, with millions of dollars reportedly spent on personal luxuries instead of providing meals to children.

Eighteen other defendants have pleaded guilty, with more awaiting trial. The defendants are facing charges of wire fraud and money laundering related to an alleged conspiracy to steal millions from the program. The Feeding Our Future founder, Aimee Bock, has denied any involvement in the fraudulent activities.

The investigation into the case remains ongoing, with federal authorities working to hold those responsible for the fraud scheme accountable.

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