You know, in this century it often seems like fraud rings tend to be heavy on the Diverse.
But now federal prosecutors in Minnesota have filed United States v. Aimee Marie Bock, et al. for stealing $240 million of COVID relief by making up the names of vast numbers of children their purported charities supposedly fed 125 million meals. Ms. Bock, however, looks like the boring old Minnesotans I used to know back when Minnesota wasn’t battling Wisconsin for the title of iSteve Content Generator State of the Year.
Here are the Minnesota defendants:
Aimee Marie Bock, Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh, Salim Ahmed Said, Abdulkadir Nur Salah, Ahmed Sharif Omar-Hashim, Abdi Nur Salah, Abdihakim Ali Ahmed, Ahmed Mohamed Artan, Abdikadir Ainanshe Mohamud, Abdinasir Mahamed Abshir, Asad Mohamed Abshir, Hamdi Hussein Omar, Ahmed Abdullahi Ghedi, Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed, Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, Mohamed Jama Ismail, Mahad Ibrahim, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, Said Shafii Farah, Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin, Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff, Hayat Mohamed Nur, Abdiwahab Ahmed Mohamud, Filsan Mumin Hassan, Guhaad Hashi Said, Abdullahe Nur Jesow, Abdul Abubakar Ali, Yusuf Bashir Ali, Haji Osman Salad, Fahad Nur, Anab Artan, Awad Farhiya Mohamud, Liban Yasin Alishire, Ahmed Yasin Ali, Khadar Jigre Adan, Sharmake Jama, Ayan Jama, Asha Jama, Fartun Jama, Mustafa Jama, Zamzam Jama, Bekam Addissu Merdassa, Hadith Yusuf Ahmed, and Hanna Marekegn.
From the New York Times news section:
The Justice Department said on Tuesday that it had charged 48 people with running a brazen fraud against anti-hunger programs in the coronavirus pandemic, stealing $240 million by billing the government for meals they did not serve to children who did not exist.
The case, in Minnesota, is the largest fraud uncovered in any pandemic-relief program, prosecutors said, standing out even in a period when heavy federal spending and lax oversight allowed a spree of scams with few recent parallels.
The Minnesota operation, prosecutors said, involved faked receipts for 125 million meals. At times, it was especially bold: One accused conspirator told the government he had fed 5,000 children a day in a second-story apartment.
Other defendants in the case seemed to put minimal effort into disguising what they were doing, using the website listofrandomnames.com to create a fake list of children they could charge for feeding. Others used a number-generating program to produce ages for the children they were supposedly feeding, which led the ages to fluctuate wildly each time the group updated its list of those nonexistent children, court papers said.
That insider was Aimee Bock, the founder of a nonprofit group, Feeding Our Future, that the State of Minnesota relied on as a watchdog to stop fraud at feeding sites. But Ms. Bock did the opposite, the indictments said: When pandemic-relief programs flooded the programs with money, she exploited her position to bring in nearly 200 new feeding operations she knew were submitting fake or inflated invoices.
Even when the government of Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, raised questions, Ms. Bock rebuffed them by filing a lawsuit and accusing state officials of discriminating against her group’s largely East African clientele.