Forty-seven people were charged in Minnesota on Tuesday with conspiracy and other counts in what Federal authorities allege is the largest fraud scheme yet to take advantage of $1.9 trillion in taxpayer funds released by the Biden administration during the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those charged is Aimee Bock, 41, the founder and executive director of Feeding Our Future, a non-profit organization that was a sponsor of the Federal Child Nutrition Program.
The accused face charges of stealing a shared total of $250 million from a federal taxpayer-funded program that provides meals to low-income children.
“Feeding Our Future employees recruited individuals and entities to open Federal Child Nutrition Program sites throughout the state of Minnesota,” the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
“These sites, created and operated by the defendants and others, fraudulently claimed to be serving meals to thousands of children a day,” it said.
Instead, they submitted false invoices and fraudulent meal count sheets using fake names of children.
According to the Justice Department, Feeding Our Future claimed to have opened more than 250 sites throughout the state of Minnesota during the pandemic.
“The defendants used the proceeds of their fraudulent scheme to purchase luxury vehicles, residential and commercial real estate in Minnesota as well as property in Ohio and Kentucky, real estate in Kenya and Turkey, and to fund international travel,” the department said.
The defendants face an array of charges ranging from wire fraud to bribery and money laundering.
Democrats and teachers’ unions have demanded $305 billion in coronavirus aid, claiming the taxpayer funds are necessary to reopen public schools “safely.” https://t.co/PBky84VlNn
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 10, 2020
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice made prosecuting pandemic-related fraud a priority. The department has already taken enforcement actions related to more than $8 billion in suspected pandemic fraud, including bringing charges in more than 1,000 criminal cases involving losses in excess of $1.1 billion.
Federal officials repeatedly described the alleged fraud as “brazen,” and decried that it denied food to children who needed help during the coronavirus pandemic. Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis FBI office, called it “an astonishing display of deceit.”
The expenditures amount to a fraction of the $350 billion made available through the 2021 American Rescue Plan to help state and local governments weather the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath.
But they are examples of uses of the aid that are inconsistent with the rationale that Democrats offered for the record $1.9 trillion splash of U.S. taxpayer dollars.