Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a 49th defendant in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud federal child nutrition programs.
FBI agents in Chicago arrested Mohamed Muse Noor at O'Hare Airport after investigators learned late Sunday that he had booked a Monday morning flight to Istanbul, Turkey.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis last week announced charges against four dozen others connected to the nonprofit Feeding our Future. Authorities say the group submitted phony reimbursement claims for millions of meals and used a web of shell companies to launder around $250 million stolen from two U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition programs.
According to the criminal complaint, Noor allegedly enrolled Xogmaal Media Group, an advertising and marketing company incorporated in November 2020, as a meal site. Within weeks, prosecutors allege that Noor falsely claimed that his firm was serving 1,000 meals per day to children.
The complaint includes a screenshot of a Feb. 27, 2021 email from an unnamed Feeding Our Future employee to founder Aimee Bock, where the staffer expresses concern that Xogmaal is a media company that does not work with children.
“These are the things we need to clean up,” the employee wrote to Bock. “Yes, I agree,” Bock allegedly responded.
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In an affidavit, FBI Special Agent Travis Wilmer writes that Xogmaal would eventually receive $494,316 in fraudulent proceeds, and Noor then used shell companies to transfer most of the funds to his cousin, Abdikerm Abelahi Eidleh.
Eidleh, a former Feeding our Future employee, is charged alongside Bock in one of six indictments that resulted from the sprawling investigation.
Among other things, Eidleh allegedly put $212,000 toward his mortgage and spent tens of thousands of dollars at a cryptocurrency exchange and at a Dubai jewelry store.
Eidleh is one of three defendants in the case who authorities say have fled the country. Wilmer writes that Eidleh is believed to be living in Mogadishu, Somalia.