Originally published Jan. 20, 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Federal agents executed search warrants on more than a dozen properties connected to what FBI search warrants call an alleged pattern of deception, money laundering and fraud by a Minneapolis organization claiming to feed at-risk children.READ MORE: Savage Middle School Principal Accused Of Attempting To Hire 15-Year-Old Girl For Sex
The documents claim the organization Feeding Our Future had worked with dozens of individuals from across the Twin Cities to steal tens of millions of dollars from the federally funded USDA Summer Food Services Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Feeding Our Future, founded in 2017, went from taking in $2.9 million in federal funding in 2019 to more than $197 million in 2021.
Documents detail how as the organization’s financial intake skyrocketed; the Minnesota Department of Education became increasingly skeptical. Eventually, MDE withheld certain funds, which led to Feeding Our Future filing suit in a Ramsey County courtroom — a lawsuit that is currently pending.
Documents claim MDE involved the FBI in April of 2021, under the suspicions Feeding Our Future was submitting fraudulent documents as well as reporting higher numbers of children getting assistance to get more funding.
According to the search warrants, tens of millions of dollars went to restaurants, after school programs and other advocates throughout the Twin Cities. In some cases, organizations getting funds through Feeding Our Future claimed to be feeding upwards of 5,000 children a day. Federal investigators note that the state’s largest high school has an enrollment of just 3,600 — making claims of 5,000 children being fed each day suspiciously large to the agency.READ MORE: 4 Boys Arrested After Crashing Stolen Vehicle Outside Minnesota State Capitol
Federal investigators say almost none of this money was going towards feeding children. Rather, it was allegedly being laundered through shell organizations before being spent on cars, luxury properties and trips.
While no charges have been filed, more than a dozen organizations and individuals are named in the documents, some who had allegedly stolen millions from the federal funds.
Feeding Our Future executive director Aimee Bock did not respond to calls for comment Thursday evening.
While Bock has not been formally charged, court documents allege she received kickbacks totaling more than $300,000, while other involved parties had taken millions meant to feed children and invested the money in luxury cars and homes.
In a statement Thursday evening, MDE says it moved to end Feeding Our Future’s permanent agreements under the USDA programs immediately and has issued a “stop pay” order to halt all payments to Feeding our Future.
On Friday, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) called on Gov. Tim Walz to review the distribution of state and federal dollars.MORE NEWS: Nordstrom Workers In Minnetonka Accused Of Stealing $500K In High-End Merchandise, Selling Items Online
“This is just the tip of the iceberg for fraud in federal COVID programs. Other states have seen billions in fraudulent unemployment claims, and Minnesota’s program is currently under investigation by the Legislative Auditor,” Daudt said.