Guilty Pleas Entered in Feeding Our Future Fraud Scandal
Minneapolis, MN (KROC-AM News) - Three Minnesota residents today entered guilty pleas to federal charges connected to the $250 million Feeding Our Future fraud scheme.
The US Attorney for Minnesota says 40-year-old Bekam Merdassa of Inver Grove Heights admitted using a shell company to fraudulently collect more than $3 million in reimbursements from the Federal Child Nutrition Program. Operating under the sponsorship of the Feeding Our Future organization, Merdassa claimed he served over 1.3 million meals to children between December 2020 and June 2021.
40-year-old Hanna Marekegn of Medina obtained more than $7 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds after enrolling her Minneapolis restaurant and claiming that she was serving up to 4000 meals to children per day. Federal prosecutors say she also paid kickbacks to a Feeding Our Future employee to receive sponsorship from that organization.
The Office of the US Attorney says 34-year-old Hadith Ahmed of Eden Prairie was an employee of Feeding Our Future. He was prosecuted for accepting kickback payments and bribes totaling more than $1 million from others involved in the fraud scheme. He was also accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $1 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds by creating an operation that claimed it was providing meals to around 2000 children per day.
All three defendants went before a federal judge in Minneapolis today and emitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Their sentencing hearings have yet to be scheduled. Almost 50 people have been indicted on federal charges in connection with the Feeding Our Future scheme.
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