Plymouth Woman Pleads Guilty for her Role in $250 Million Scheme to Defraud the Federal Child Nutrition Program and Separate $4 Million Medicaid Fraud Scheme
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Plymouth woman has pleaded guilty to her role in two separate fraud cases, including the $250 million fraud scheme that exploited a federally-funded child nutrition program and a Medicaid fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, Anab Artan Awad, 52, admitted that from September 2020 through January 2022, she knowingly participated with others 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 children.
According to her guilty plea, Awad used a non-profit entity called Multiple Community Services to carry out her scheme. Through Multiple Community Services, Awad controlled purported Federal Child Nutrition Program food distribution sites in Osseo, Minneapolis and Faribault, under the sponsorship of Sponsor A. As a food site operator, Awad was responsible for serving actual food to children through the Federal Child Nutrition Program. However, in furtherance of the scheme, Awad received Federal Child Nutrition Program funds based upon fraudulent information, such as falsified invoices and meal count records with substantially inflated figures. Awad received Federal Child Nutrition Program funds that substantially exceeded the amounts of food that she either purchased or served to children.
According to her guilty plea, one of Awad’s Minneapolis sites fraudulently claimed to have served more than 1.5 million meals to children from January 2021 to April 2021, which amounts to approximately 12,600 meals to children daily. In reality, Awad’s operations at that location served a fraction of the meal amounts claimed. Also, despite Awad’s claims, the purported food vendor for her location, in fact, did not provide food during the time period claimed. In addition, none of the names on the attendance rosters submitted for “Golden Meadows,” which was one of Awad’s food sites in Faribault, matched the names of actual children enrolled in the Faribault School District.
It was further part of the scheme that Awad received fraudulent proceeds from the Federal Child Nutrition Program into accounts that she controlled, which included, among other deposits, approximately $3.7 million directly from Sponsor A, and approximately $3 million from a purported vendor that, in fact, provided no food to Awad.
In total, Awad fraudulently claimed $11,237,106.41 in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, of which the Minnesota Department of Education paid out $9,668,384.09. In all, Awad and her purported vendors obtained $9,333,858.24 in fraud proceeds for herself and others.
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 proseucted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew S. Ebert, Joseph H. Thompson, Harry M. Jacobs, Chelsea A. Walcker and Joseph S. Teirab. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Baune is handling the seizure and forfeiture of assets.
Awad also pleaded guilty today in a separate case to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to court documents, from April 2015 through July 2016, Awad worked as an interpreter for A-Z Friendly Languages and Itasca Interpretation Services, both companies were approved providers that billed services to the Minnesota Medicaid program. In this role, Awad conspired with mental health practitioners at Minnesota Multicultural Counseling and Consultant (MMCC) to sign billing forms for mental health and related interpretation services that were not provided. Awad’s fraudulent claims caused a $99,154 loss to the Minnesota Medicaid program as part of the broader $4 million scheme to defraud, executed by MMCC and its associated interpreters. Awad transitioned to her scheme to defraud the Federal Child Nutrition Program from September 2020 through January 2022 while awaiting trial for her fraudulent billing practices as an interpreter for MMCC.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the Minnesota Attorney General Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela M. Munoz and Jordan L. Sing.
Awad pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court before Judge Eric E. Tostrud to one count of wire fraud in the first case and one count conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the second case. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.