There are massive fraud schemes, and then there is a higher category that includes what the Feds shined a light on this week. A total of 47 people were charged for allegedly perpetrating the largest covid relief fraud scheme, and this one took a whole lot of unmitigated gall to be part of.
According to the Justice Department, these people exploited a program in Minnesota that was meant to feed needy children. Instead of doing that, the defendants allegedly stole a staggering quarter of a billion dollars! The $250 million went into nearly four dozen people’s pockets and bank accounts.
It was a complex network of brazen people that shared a couple of things in common; greed and a connection to a nonprofit organization called Feeding our Future. The ring leader authorities say is Aimee Bock, the founder of the nonprofit.
Feeding Our Future was one of several groups that Minnesota chose to oversee the distribution of meals to the children of low-income families during covid.
The Feds say it didn’t quite go that way, as instead, it was essentially a “pay-to-play” scheme where people would submit fake meal sites and the names of children to take in government money. The old bait and switch game, with fake and fraudulent invoices, is how they pulled it off.
If what prosecutors said happened is true, the level of staggering stupidity and greed is almost hard to fathom. One restaurant alone collected $1.1 million in just one month and claimed to have fed 185,000 children. For perspective, a Morning Brew report said that an average McDonald’s brings in just under $3 million for an entire year!
Instead of that $250 million going to feed needy children during a pandemic, these alleged crooks instead spent the money on guns, cars, and real estate worldwide, including in Turkey, Kenya, and the United States.
Memo to all other pandemic relief fraudsters; keep your head on a swivel because there are at least 500 federal agents working full-time on fraud cases, and over 1,500 people have already been charged.