Feds could seize properties connected to ‘Feeding our Future’ investigation

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has filed a lawsuit that could lead to the seizure of more than a dozen properties — office buildings, single-family homes, and lakefront lots — all connected to what investigators called a ‘massive fraud scheme’ involving public money meant to help feed children in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal agents raided several locations associated with Feeding our Future in January. The non-profit organization received nearly $200 million last year in Federal Child Nutrition Funds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to search warrant applications filed in court.

RELATED: Feds: Nonprofit stole millions of tax dollars meant to feed kids during pandemic

In a separate civil filing, federal prosecutors are now seeking the forfeiture of 14 properties that they say were purchased with those federal funds.

“Conspirators misappropriated the money and used it to purchase real estate, cars, and other luxury items,” wrote Craig Baune, Assistant U.S. Attorney. “To date, the conspirators have stolen millions of dollars in federal funds.”

The forfeiture action identifies several non-profit organizations that were sponsored by Feeding our Future to serve meals around the Twin Cities and throughout the state.

Prosecutors say $575,000 in federal funds were used to buy a house in Savage.

$2.8 million in federal funds went to purchase a historic mansion on Park Avenue in south Minneapolis that was converted to office space, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors also allege more than $1 million in federal funds were used to buy two lakefront lots on Prior lake last year.

“They are the proceeds of the fraud scheme and were involved in money laundering transactions and are traceable to such property,” Baune wrote in the complaint.

The government said it is not seeking to immediately seize the properties in question, but rather file notices of the pending lawsuit in county property records.

So far, no one has been arrested in connection with the federal investigation of Feeding our Future.

Aimee Bock, the non-profit’s founder and executive director, has not been charged with a crime.

Bock has not responded to interview requests from 5 INVESTIGATES. Her attorney, Kenneth Udoibok, declined to comment on the forfeiture case, but asserted his client’s innocence.

“Based on a review of this case… I have doubts that the government will indict Ms. Bock,” Udoibok said. “The search warrant, on its face, does not posit any evidence of criminality.”