49th suspect charged in Feeding Our Future fraud investigation

Another person has been charged in connection with a COVID-related scheme that federal prosecutors say defrauded more than $240 million in funds meant to feed school children.

Mohamed Muse Noor is the 49th person charged in the investigation into the Minneapolis-based organization Feeding Our Future. He is accused of registering his company, Xogmaal Media Group, as a phony Federal Child Nutrition Program meal site under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future.

Xogmaal Media is described on its website as a “Minneapolis-based Somali marketing, advertising, and communications firm.” It also runs a news site focused on the Somali community.

An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court details internal Feeding Our Future emails that document Xogmaal Media Group moving to “step 2 of the application” before an employee raised concerns about sponsoring the company.

“We took a lot of organization that don’t work with children or are advocate, I am just realizing that now,” an employee wrote to Feeding Our Future Executive Director Aimee Bock, who is also charged in the scheme. “For example xogmaal is a TV show program. They have no interest with children. These are the things we need to clean up.”

Bock responded, “Yes, I agree,” the complaint states, but she still allowed Xogmaal to operate a Federal Child Nutrition Program site under Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship.

A meal count sheet dated Feb. 21, 2021, shows Noor claimed Xogmaal was serving supper and a snack to 1,000 children a day and that 200 children were requesting meals once they had run out on each of those days. Other forms dated April 18, 2021, and June 11, 2021, claim Xogmaal was serving 1,500 meals a day, seven days a week.

Noor claimed throughout the summer that he was feeding this volume of children at Xogmaal Media Group, and one invoice dated May 31, 2021, claimed the company was entitled to $285,975 in reimbursements for serving 46,500 meals in May 2021.

These funds — $494,316 in total — were paid out through Feeding Our Future. “These deposits represented more than 95 percent of the total deposits” into Xogmaal Media Group’s bank account that Noor opened on Nov. 30, 2020, the complaint states.

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From there, rather than spending the money on food or providing meals, Xogmaal Media Group transferred the vast majority of funds to shell companies controlled by Feeding Our Future employee Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh, Noor’s cousin, who is also charged in the scheme. Bank records detailed in the affidavit show Eidleh did not use this money on food, either.

“Instead, [Eidleh] appears to have used much of the funds in the accounts of his various shell companies to fund his lifestyle and enrich himself,” the complaint states.

The $387,431 in “kickbacks” from Xogmaal Media Group were allegedly spent on Eidleh’s mortgage and online currency and cryptocurrency exchanges, along with $50,000 spent at a jewelry store in Dubai. Prosecutors believe Eidleh fled the country and currently lives in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Noor had booked a flight to Istanbul that was scheduled to leave Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at 8 a.m. Monday. Charging documents in his case were unsealed after he was taken into custody. He faces one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.