Feeding Our Future dissolves amid FBI probe over federal nutrition money

Feeding Our Future dissolves amid FBI probe over federal nutrition money

Feeding Our Future, the St. Anthony nonprofit the FBI is investigating for alleged federal vitamin fraud, is closing its doorways for good.

The nonprofit’s three board members voted to dissolve the group, they introduced Friday.

“Feeding Our Future did lots of nice work for the group,” Aimee Bock, the group’s government director, mentioned in a ready assertion. “It’s heartbreaking that the group should dissolve beneath these unlucky circumstances.”

The FBI froze Feeding Our Future’s property in January so the group hasn’t been in a position to function since then and its 65 staff had been terminated, mentioned Jennifer Urban, an lawyer who works with nonprofits and was employed to assist the group handle the dissolution. She added that the group is hoping the FBI will unfreeze its property so it may well wind down operations, paying excellent payments.

The three board members — named as Ali Egal, Henry Komolo and Amal Sala — voted unanimously to dissolve the group on Wednesday and submitted the official paperwork with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office. According to January paperwork filed with the state, the board members then had been Egal, Jamie Phelps, 45, of St. Paul and John Senkler however Phelps and Senkler have since resigned, Urban mentioned.

While the FBI is investigating for attainable legal fees, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, which regulates charities that solicit for donations in Minnesota, is investigating the nonprofit for presumably violating the state’s charitable legal guidelines. The company can take motion towards nonprofits by submitting court docket orders to dissolve or ban it from working in Minnesota if it misuses funds or would not observe governance guidelines. Urban mentioned Feeding Our Future is cooperating with each investigations.

The board members mentioned within the decision that “widespread unfavorable press protection” and the group’s property being frozen amid the investigation prompted the board to resolve to voluntarily dissolve the group and wind down operations. The nonprofit is hiring an accounting agency to finish required audits and tax types.

On Jan. 20, greater than 200 legislation enforcement officers raided greater than a dozen websites in Minnesota together with the nonprofit’s places of work and Bock’s Rosemount dwelling. In greater than 200 pages of U.S. District Court search warrants that had been unsealed later that day, an FBI particular agent detailed an elaborate scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture of tens of millions of {dollars} by taking cash meant to feed youngsters in want. Instead, they allege that the cash was funneled to an array of entities to be laundered and used to purchase jewellery, a Porsche, lakefront properties in Prior Lake, a $1 million Plymouth dwelling with an indoor basketball court docket and different private property, journeys and objects.

In a court docket order filed Jan. 21, prosecutors moved to seize 14 properties owned by folks accused within the scheme.

No one who has been named in FBI court docket paperwork has been arrested or charged with any crime.

Bock, who began the group in 2016, told the Star Tribune in her first media interview for the reason that FBI raid that she had by no means stolen cash nor had she seen any proof of fraud amongst her subcontractors.

Bock accuses the Minnesota Department of Education, which distributes the federal vitamin funds to nonprofits and faculties, of supplying the federal authorities with a bogus legal case to derail her lawsuit towards the state, which was scheduled to go to trial in April. She additionally alleges discrimination, saying the division held up approvals and funds as a result of she works with organizations led principally by Somali immigrants.

She mentioned Feeding Our Future visited subcontractor websites no less than month-to-month to confirm they had been following federal tips and solely reimbursed subcontractors after they offered meals. She mentioned the for-profit companies might use their earnings for private use.


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