Federal authorities stopped another person linked to the Feeding Our Future fraud case from leaving the country on Monday, arresting the 49th person to be charged in the sprawling $250 million child food aid conspiracy.
Officers arrested Mohamed Muse Noor hours before his flight to Istanbul, Turkey, left the Twin Cities on Monday morning. A federal criminal complaint accusing Noor of participating in the fraud conspiracy said law enforcement learned of the route Sunday night.
According to the charges, Noor is the cousin of Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh – an employee of Feeding Our Future who was also charged with conspiracy and is accused of pocketing millions of dollars in bribes and bribes other co-conspirators. Monday’s new criminal complaint describes Eidleh as a fugitive who officers believe is now in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Noor did not have an attorney listed as the representative late Monday afternoon.
Noor is accused of fraudulently obtaining nearly $500,000 in federal child nutrition program money through his Xogmaal Media Group under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The Xogmaal Media Group website describes itself as a Somali marketing, advertising and communications company based in Minneapolis. It also functions as an online news source that reports on the Somali community in Minnesota.
According to the charges, Noor incorporated Xogmaal Media Group in late November 2020 and soon registered it as a federal child nutrition program site under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. Noor and Feeding Our Future Director Aimee Bock signed and submitted a site application on December 29, 2020, and the Minnesota Department of Education approved her application in February 2021.
A Feeding Our Future employee raised concerns about the sponsorship of Xogmaal Media Group and other entities that had no connection with children.
“We took a lot of organization[s} that don’t work with children or are advocate[s]“wrote the anonymous employee in a February 2021 email to Bock that was cited in Noor’s criminal complaint. “I realize that now. For example, xogmaal is a TV show. Who have no interest with children. These are things that we have to clean up.”
But the complaint says that Bock nevertheless allowed Xogmaal to participate in the program under the sponsorship. A few weeks after joining the program, Noor claimed that Xogmaal Media Group was serving meals to 1,000 children a day and 1,500 children a day months later.
Bock has pleaded not guilty and has publicly denied any wrongdoing, including after the FBI raided his Rosemount office and home in January. A message was left Monday seeking comment from his lawyer. Eidleh did not have a lawyer listed as the representative in the case.
In total, Xogmaal Media Group received $494,316 in federal funds from Feeding Our Future — with little to none of that money used to buy food or provide meals for children, according to the charges. Most of the money is said to have instead gone to front companies owned by Eidleh and a former employee charged with soliciting and receiving bribes.
“Bank records show that Eidleh did not use this money (or money it received from other Federal Child Nutrition Program sites) to provide food or meals to underprivileged children,” says the complaint. “Instead, he appears to have used much of the funds from his various shell company accounts to fund his lifestyle and enrich himself.”
This included $212,000 for Eidleh’s house mortgage; $88,000 sent to an online cryptocurrency exchange and $50,000 spent at a jewelry store in Dubai.
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