Seven Minnesota Residents Accused of Defrauding Pandemic Food Program

It’s the most heartless COVID-19 relief funds fraud case one could imagine and the largest fraud case in U.S. history.

Seven individuals are accused of stealing over $40 million, ultimately costing taxpayers $250 million. The prosecution claims that low-income children only received a small portion of the funds, while the majority was spent on expensive vehicles, jewelry, vacations, and real estate.

The money was earmarked for low-income families with children who weren’t secure knowing where their next meal would come from.

The federal government’s Department of Agriculture tried to provide food assistance, which the state’s Department of Education managed. But the money was hijacked by the lowest of the low.

Feeding Our Future and Partners in Nutrition, two once modest organizations, are now at the heart of a massive fraud case. They are accused of misappropriating approximately $200 million in pandemic relief funds, a staggering amount that could have been used to combat the COVID-19 epidemic and stabilize the economy.

The prosecution claims that the defendant’s fraud spread and grew, with several supposed feeding locations being empty lots and abandoned businesses. By the time the defendants’ scheme was exposed in early 2022, they had fraudulently sought reimbursement of $49 million from the Federal Child Nutrition Program for serving over 18 million meals from 50 unique locations.

Aimee Bock, founder of Feeding Our Future, is one of the accused waiting for trial. At a later date, she will be tried with fourteen other accused. She has always denied ever stealing from the project. In Minnesota, the scandal threw the 2022 legislative session and campaign into disarray. Democratic Governor Tim Walz should have intervened sooner to prevent the fraud, but the state could not do anything due to a court order that required it to maintain payment. An impartial inspector-general has been appointed to the Minnesota Department of Education, giving that agency more authority to probe allegations of waste and fraud.