MINNEAPOLIS – Liban Yasin Alishire has pleaded guilty to his role in the $250 million fraud scheme that exploited a federally-funded child nutrition program during the COVID-19 pandemic, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, Alishire, 43, of Brooklyn Park, enrolled Community Enhancement Services and Lake Street Kitchen, organizations he helped operate, in the Federal Child Nutrition Program as purported sites providing meals to underprivileged children under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future.
Alishire admits that after enrolling in the Federal Child Nutrition Program, he began submitting fraudulent claims for reimbursement for serving meals to hundreds or thousands of children a day. Alishire falsified invoices to document the purchase of food, and the preparation and submitting of falsified attendance rosters purporting to document the names of children who received meals. Alishire also operated a distribution company, Ace Distribution Services, that purported to provide meals to be served to children at the Community Enhancement Services site.
In total, Community Enhancement Services claimed to have served over 800,000 meals between February and October 2021, and Lake Street Kitchen claimed to have served over 70,000 meals between December 2020 and April 2021. In reality, Community Enhancement Services and Lake Street Kitchen served a fraction of the meal amounts claimed.
Based on the fraudulent claims, Community Enhancement Services and Lake Street Kitchen received more than a million dollars in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds from their sponsor entity, Feeding Our Future. Alishire caused the transfer of much of this money to himself and others via shell companies used to receive and launder the proceeds of the fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Hoodo Properties was one such shell company Alishire controlled and used to launder proceeds from the fraud scheme. On or about November 22, 2021, Alishire conducted a wire transfer of $216,300 from Hoodo Properties to Jaafar Jelle & Co. towards the purchase of the Karibu Palms Resort in Diani Beach, Kenya.
In total, Alishire fraudulently claimed approximately $2,427,576.17 in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, of which Feeding Our Future paid out $1,783,786.45 to the defendant and his co-conspirators. In all, Alishire obtained $712,084.00 in fraud proceeds for himself and entities he controlled.
Alishire pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court before Judge Nancy E. Brasel to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. As part of his plea agreement, Alishire will forfeit a boat and trailer, a Ford F150 pickup truck, an apartment unit in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Karibu Palms Resort on the Indian Ocean in Kenya. Alishire also agreed to a $712,084.00 forfeiture money judgment. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, IRS – Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph S. Teirab, Joseph H. Thompson, Harry M. Jacobs, Matthew S. Ebert, and Chelsea A. Walcker. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Baune is handling the seizure and forfeiture of assets.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24