Somali Defendants Detained After Bag of $120,000 in Cash Shows Up at Juror’s Home During COVID Fraud Trial

by Debra Heine

 

A federal judge dismissed a juror in a Somali fraud case in Minnesota Monday, after she said someone showed up at her home on Sunday and left a bag of $120,000 in cash with a potential of more to come if the juror agreed to acquit the defendants.

The seven defendants—Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, Mohamed Jama Ismail, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, Said Shafii Farah, Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin, Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff and Hayat Mohamed Nur—are accused of stealing more than $40 million from a tax-payer funded child nutrition program.

The 23-year-old juror wasn’t home at the time so the cash bribe—contained in a white floral gift bag filled with $100, $50 and $20 bills—was left with her father-in-law, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

The juror promptly called 911 and reported what happened. The Spring Lake Park Police initially took custody of the cash, and then it was confiscated by the FBI.

The defendants are among 70 Somali and East African immigrants facing charges in the pandemic-related fraud conspiracy that cost taxpayers $250 million.

Eighteen others have already pleaded guilty, and authorities have reportedly recovered about $50 million of the misspent taxpayer money.

Prosecutors said that only a small fraction of the funds were directed to charities meant to feed low-income children. The rest was reportedly spent on luxury cars, jewelry, travel and property, according to the Associated Press.

The aid money came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was administered by the state Department of Education. Nonprofits and other partners under the program were supposed to serve meals to kids.

Two of the groups involved, Feeding Our Future and Partners in Nutrition, were small nonprofits before the pandemic, but in 2021 they disbursed around $200 million each. Prosecutors allege they produced invoices for meals that were never served, ran shell companies, laundered money, indulged in passport fraud and accepted kickbacks.

After the attempted bribe, authorities confiscated the cellphones of all seven defendants and took them into custody as investigators tried to determine who attempted to bribe the juror.

The case went to the jury late Monday afternoon, after the juror was dismissed and replaced with an alternate.

A second juror was reportedly also dismissed Tuesday morning after she revealed that she had found out about the bribe.

According to U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel, the juror called her family Monday night to let them know the jury was being sequestered and the family member responded, “Is it because of the bribe?” The juror then reported that conversation to the court, which told her to not talk to any other jurors about what she had heard. She was also replaced with an alternate.

“This is completely beyond the pale,” lead prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thompson said in court. “This is outrageous behavior. This is stuff that happens in mob movies.”

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Debra Heine is a reporter for American Greatness. 

 

 

 

 

 


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2 Thoughts to “Somali Defendants Detained After Bag of $120,000 in Cash Shows Up at Juror’s Home During COVID Fraud Trial”

  1. Truth seeker

    THIS is what not vetting immigrants is all about, AND the Demon party knew this would happen, but are all to eager to sell out America for a STINKIN VOTE!

  2. Nashville Deplorable

    Diversity is our strength!

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