Several dozen people have been charged after allegedly deceiving the government to steal money from children’s charity in Minnesota during the COVID-19 pandemic – and use it for their luxuries.
In Tuesday’s release, US Department of Justice announced criminal charges against 47 individuals for their alleged roles in the scam, which was valued at more than $250 million. Minister of Justice Merrick B. Garland called it “the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme to date.”
All individuals involved in the fraud scheme were connected to a Minnesota nonprofit called Nurturing our futuresupposedly used as a front to collect government money. FBI Manager Christopher Wray explain:
“The defendants went to great lengths to exploit a program designed to feed underserved children in Minnesota amid the COVID-19 pandemic, defrauding millions of dollars designated for the program because their personal interests.”
There are a total of six groups in the lawsuit, including 47 individuals charged with federal crimes such as conspiracy, bribery, electronic fraud, money laundering, and illegal payments and receipts. United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew M. Luger explained in the DOJ release:
“This is a brazen plan of incredible proportions. The defendants exploited a program designed to provide nutritious food to poor children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they prioritized their greed, stealing more than a quarter of a billion dollars in federal funds to buy luxury cars, houses, jewelry, and offshore seaside resort real estate. “.
According to the statement, the defendants created and submitted fake documents as evidence of their need for government reimbursement, including fake invoices and attendance lists. You won’t believe this, but the names of the fake kids that need help? They were created using names from a website called www.listofrandomnames.com.
All in all, Feeding our future, founded by Aimee Bockclaims to have opened 250 websites across the state of Minnesota, which they fraudulently obtained $250 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds. The release reports the program has gone from receiving $3.4 million in federal funds in 2019 to nearly $200 million in 2020. The Department of Justice notes:
“The defendants used the proceeds of their fraudulent scheme to purchase luxury cars, residential and commercial real estate in Minnesota as well as properties in Ohio and Kentucky, and property in Kenya and Turkey. States, and to finance international travel.”
Agent Justin Campbellto be in charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office explains:
“Exploiting a government program aimed at raising children at a time of national crisis is the epitome of greed. According to the allegation, the defendants charged in this case chose to enrich themselves at the expense of children. Instead of nurturing the future, they chose to steal from the future. IRS – Criminal Investigation is pleased to join our law enforcement partners in holding these defendants accountable. “
What an amazingly horrible conspiracy for transfer personal profits at the expense of children need. That money should be used to really help those who need it, not to buy luxury cars and houses for the rich. This is one of the most heinous, greedy crimes we’ve ever heard of – and we hope to see justice done. What are your thoughts on the cheat scheme? Let us know in the comments below).
[Images via The Justice Department/YouTube]