Federal Jury Finds Three Defendants Guilty in $300 Million Nationwide Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Targeting the Elderly
MINNEAPOLIS – A Bloomington man 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 the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, Abdulkadir Awale, 50, admitted that from April 2020 through 2022, he knowingly participated in a fraudulent scheme to obtain and misappropriate millions of dollars in federal child nutrition program funds that were intended as reimbursements for the cost of serving meals to underprivileged children.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, Awale enrolled his businesses, Karmel Coffee, LLC, Sambusa King, Inc., and Nawal Restaurant, Inc., in the Federal Child Nutrition Program as vendors under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future and Sponsor A. Awale falsely claimed that through his businesses, he provided food for more than 3.6 million meals to various sites in Minnesota, totaling approximately $11.8 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds. As part of the scheme, Awale also paid at least $83,000 in kickbacks to a Feeding Our Future employee in exchange for Awale’s participation in the program. Awale used some of funds to pay off his home mortgage, make cash withdrawals, and purchase vehicles, including two Freightliner Cascadia trucks.
Awale pleaded guilty today before Judge Nancy E. Brasel to one count of wire fraud and agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $2,126,200. 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.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew S. Ebert, Joseph H. Thompson, Harry M. Jacobs, and Chelsea A. Walcker are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Baune is handling the seizure and forfeiture of assets.