The husband of Mekfira Hussein, Abduljabar Hussein, has been indicted in connection with the $250 million Feeding Our Future scandal, making him the 50th person arrested in the case.
Mekfira was arrested last month before she was scheduled to depart the country to Ethiopia on a one-way ticket and charged via a criminal complaint. Now, both she and her husband have been indicted on 20 counts.
According to the indictment:
Mekfira operated Shamsia Hopes which she enrolled in the federal Child Nutrition Programs under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. She operated multiple sites in Minnesota, including in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, and Fridley. At these sites, she falsely claimed to be serving up to 5,000 children every day.
Abduljabar created a company called Oromia Feeds LLC, which was supposed to provide the food for Shamsia Hopes. In December 2020, Abduljabar registered his company with the Minnesota Secretary of State but later submitted invoices for meals from October and November 2020.
In July 2021, Mekfira forwarded an invoice to Feeding Our Future from Abduljabar claiming 2,000 breakfasts and 2,000 lunches had been served every day and asked for a reimbursement of approximately $197,155. This pattern continued throughout 2021 and emails cited in the indictment show Mekfira and Abduljabar sent invoices dating back to October 2020. In each email, they requested reimbursement for hundreds of thousands of dollars and claimed they were feeding 2,000 to 5,000 children a day.
Abduljabar opened a bank account for Oromia Feeds LLC at BMO Harris Bank on July 8, 2021 and made an initial deposit of $800,000.
Mekfira transferred a “substantial portion” of the $7.8 million her company received to her husband’s company. Together, they spent the money on their own personal luxury items, such as vehicles and paying off their mortgage on their home in Shakopee.
They both are accused of paying kickbacks to a Feeding Our Future employee, Abdikerm Eidleh, in exchange for Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship. They also made campaign donations to DFL Sen. John Hoffman, who has since returned the donations.
Mekfira Hussein and Abduljabar Hussein have been federally indicted on conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, and money laundering.
Abduljabar made his initial appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court and Mekfira will make an appearance at a later date. An attorney denied that the Husseins did anything wrong in an interview with the Star Tribune.