Several DFL donors charged in free-food fraud  

Campaign finance records show 42-year-old Liban Yasin Alishire donated $2,500 in May of this year to the reelection campaign of Attorney General Keith Ellison. 

Liban Yasin Alishire, pictured above, allegedly used money stolen from the federal Child Nutrition Programs to purchase this resort in Kenya.

At least nine of the 48 people accused of defrauding the government of $250 million meant to feed hungry children have donated to Democratic officeholders in Minnesota.

The number is likely higher and Alpha News is working to confirm the identities of additional defendants.

Campaign finance records show 42-year-old Liban Yasin Alishire donated $2,500 in May of this year to the reelection campaign of Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Campaign finance record showing Alishire’s donation to Keith Ellison.

Alishire listed Hoodo Properties as his employer, which was a shell company he created to purchase luxury items and real estate with money he stole from the government, according to an indictment.

“[A]s the list of those indicted in the federal fraud investigation into Feeding Our Future became public, we became aware of a donation to our campaign from one of the individuals charged. We immediately refunded the donation in full,” Ellison’s campaign said in a statement provided to Alpha News.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced charges against 48 Minnesotans Tuesday for allegedly defrauding the federal government’s Child Nutrition Programs of $250 million in a little over 20 months.

“These [48] defendants engaged in a brazen scheme of staggering proportions,” U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said during a press conference announcing the charges.

At the center of the charges is Aimee Bock, the founder and executive director of Feeding Our Future, a nonprofit whose offices were raided in January.

Feeding Our Future participated in the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Programs, both belonging to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Programs.

These programs provide reimbursements for meals distributed to low-income children by food sites, like schools, nonprofits, restaurants, and more. Each food site must have a sponsor organization, in this case Feeding Our Future. The food sites submit reports on how many meals they are serving to the sponsor organization, which then submits the reports to the government for reimbursement.

In Minnesota, the federal reimbursements are wired to the sponsor organizations via the Department of Education, hence the recent criticism of this state agency. The sponsor organization then disburses the money among the food sites.

In some cases, the money flowed to the “fake meal sites” and then back to Feeding Our Future in the form of kickbacks, according to Luger.

Alishire was the president of an organization called Community Enhancement Services, located in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis.

His company operated a food site under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future, falsely claiming to serve as many as 2,700 meals a day, seven days a week, according to an indictment. In total, Community Enhancement Services falsely claimed to have served more than 800,000 meals to low-income children between February and October 2021, the indictment says.

Liban Yasin Alishire, right, pictured with Minnesota Sen. Omar Fateh, center.

He and his co-defendants received more than $1.6 million in Child Nutrition Programs funds. He allegedly transferred this money to shell companies and used it to purchase property in Kenya, a truck, and a boat.

Alishire also paid more than $200,000 in kickbacks to a Feeding Our Future employee in exchange for Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship of his company’s “fraudulent participation” in the program, according to the indictment.

Alishire operated a second fake food site with his co-defendants, which received $180,000 in reimbursements, the indictment says.

During his first court appearance Thursday, prosecutors said Alishire purchased a resort in Kenya using the stolen funds, KARE 11’s Lou Raguse reports. A judge ordered his release, despite concerns from the prosecution about him fleeing the country.

At least three defendants have already left the country, according to Raguse.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Sen. Omar Fateh, and Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, the attorney general’s son, have all received donations from defendants in the case. Three of the defendants previously served in appointed positions in the Minneapolis city government.

Omar, Fateh, and Frey have said in previous statements to the media that they’ve returned the donations. None of them replied to requests for comment.

Liban Yasin Alishire 
  • Attorney General Keith Ellison: $2,500 (5/27/22)
Abdinasir Mahamed Abshir 
  • Sen. Omar Fateh: $1,000 (6/6/21)
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/27/21)
  • Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison: $600 (12/20/21)
Asad Mohamed Abshir 
  • Sen. Omar Fateh: $1,000 (6/6/21)
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/27/21)
Abdihakim Ali Ahmed 
  • Sen. Omar Fateh: $1,000 (6/6/2021)
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/27/21)
  • U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar: $2,700 (3/31/2021)
Ahmed Abdullahi Ghedi 
  • Sen. Omar Fateh: $1,000 (6/6/21)
  • Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison: $600 (12/20/21)
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/27/21)
  • U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar: $2,700 (2/23/21)
Salim Ahmed Said 
  • Sen. Omar Fateh: $1,000 (6/6/21)
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/27/21)
  • Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison: $600 (12/20/21)
Abdulkadir Nur Salah
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/26/21)
  • Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison: $600 (12/20/21)
Abdikadir Ainanshe Mohamud, previously served on Mayor Frey’s community safety working group 
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/26/21)
Abdi Nur Salah, former aide to Mayor Frey 
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: $1,000 (7/27/21)

 

Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and reported for The Daily Caller.