Ten more people charged in massive Minnesota pandemic fraud case

March 14, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS – U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger on Monday announced that 10 more people have been charged in what he’s called the “largest pandemic fraud in the United States.”

The addition of 10 people brings the total to 60 involved in the $260 million Feeding Our Future investigation.

“Just like the first group of defendants, those charged today spent much of the money they stole on themselves,” U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said.

When Luger announced charges against 50 people last fall, he hinted that more defendants would be named. On Monday morning he followed through, saying the 10 new defendants spent taxpayer money on luxury vehicles, vacations, and property, all while claiming to feed thousands of needy children.

“They submitted false reimbursement sheets with phony names of children,” said Luger.

Luger said the new defendants also used false invoices and false leases, to make it look like they were buying food for kids when they weren’t.

For one of the defendants, it became a numbers game involving a small town in Northern Minnesota. Forty-one-year-old Kawsar Jama of Eagan claimed to be serving more than 2,500 meals a day to needy children in Pelican Rapids, which is close to the entire population of the town.

“In case you haven’t done the math, that means she claims to be feeding everybody who lived in Pelican Rapids every day, whether they were children or not,” said Luger.

Prosecutors said the names of the children on the reimbursement forms Jama submitted didn’t match the names of any children at Pelican Rapids schools, proving they were made up.

“In addition, she reached out to a friend to ask her to invent more names,” said Luger.

Luger said Jama received about $3.7 million through the scam. He said she also submitted a phony lease to try and make her program look legitimate.

Luger anticipates there were be several more defendants named in the future before this is done. And depending on the severity of what they’re being charged with, the judge could order that they be taken into custody.

Six people have already pleaded guilty to their charges.

Others newly charged include 51-year-old Abdikadir Kadiye of Minneapolis, 50-year-old Abdulkadir Awale of Bloomington, 41-year-old Khadra Abdi of Minneapolis, 41-year-old Ayan Farah Abukar of Savage, 45-year-old Sade Osman Hashi of Minneapolis, 52-year-old Sharon Denise Ross of Big Lake, 53-year-old Mohamed Ali Hussein of Faribault, 57-year-old Lul Bashir Ali of Faribault and 38-year-old Malata Yusuf Ali of Minneapolis.