Minneapolis/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 12, 2024
Woman Pleads Guilty in Shocking $250M Pandemic Relief FraudSource: Google Street View

A Burnsville woman has admitted to a massive $250 million fraud, capitalizing on a federal child nutrition program in the midst of a global pandemic. Hoda Ali Abdi, owner of the grocery store Alif Halal LLC, entered a guilty plea to wire fraud charges, as announced by U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

Deep into the bureaucracy, between January 2021 and 2023, Abdi bilked the government by claiming she doled out about $3 million in food to children through a sponsorship with Feeding Our Future. Except, as court documents reveal, it was all smoke and mirrors. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the invoices from Alif Halal were fabricated, overstating the food provided; in truth, the shipments were scant or nonexistent.

Caught in her web of deceit, Abdi's co-conspirators, ensnared in their guilt, tried to "cover up the fraud by directing her to lie to investigators," as per the DOJ. Falsely, they pushed Abdi to assert that actual food deliveries were made, constructing a house of cards that's since come tumbling down.

Yesterday, in U.S. District Court, presiding Judge Nancy E. Brasel heard Abdi's admission of guilt. Abdi acknowledged serving an inflated amount of 242,000 meals at her site which, in harsh reality, was a fraction of that. Swindling the system, she pocketed $1,275,710, some of which lined her pockets thanks to her co-conspirators' reliance on the bogus invoices she provided them.

Abdi's admission brands her the 18th defendant to plead guilty in the ambitious Feeding Our Future scam. As the investigation continues to unfold, led by the FBI, IRS – Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, a sentencing hearing awaits on the horizon, yet to be scheduled.