ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Mekfira Hussein and Abduljabar Hussein have been charged for their roles in the $250 million fraudulent scheme that operated a federally funded infant nutrition program during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Attorney has announced. Andrew M. Luger.
According to court documents, Mekfira Hussein, 38, was the president and owner of Shamsia Hopes, a Brooklyn Center-based nonprofit that operated federal child nutrition program sites under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. Mekfira’s husband, Abduljabar Hussein, 42, started a company, Oromia Feeds LLC, to provide food to children at Shamsia Hopes sites in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and Fridley.
According to court documents, from October 2020 to 2022, Mekfira Hussein claimed that Shamsia Hopes served up to 5,000 children a day, seven days a week. In support of these fraudulent claims, Mekfira Hussein presented false counts of meals and false invoices purporting to document the purchase of food. Abduljabar Hussein submitted fraudulent invoices claiming that Oromia Feeds LLC was entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal child nutrition program funds to provide meals to be served at Shamsia Hopes sites. Mekfira Hussein diverted at least $5.4 million of federal child nutrition program funds to Abduljabar Hussein’s Oromia Feeds LLC, who actually spent only a small fraction of that money on food. Between 2020 and 2021, Shamsia Hopes claimed to have served over 3.4 million meals to children but, in reality, only served a fraction of the meal quantities claimed. In total, the defendants claimed that Shamsia Hopes was entitled to more than $10.4 million in funds from the federal Feeding Our Future child nutrition program. Ultimately, Shamsia Hopes received approximately $7.8 million in funds from the Federal Child Nutrition Program and Oromia Feeds LLC received nearly $1 million. Together, Mekfira and Abduljabar Hussein used the funds for their own personal benefit, including buying luxury vehicles and paying off the mortgage on their Shakopee residence.
According to court documents, Mekfira Hussein and Abduljabar Hussein also paid thousands of dollars in bribes to Abdikerm Eidleh, an employee of Feeding Our Future, in exchange for Feeding Our Future sponsoring the Hussein companies’ fraudulent involvement in the federal infant nutrition program.
Mekfira Hussein, who was originally arrested and charged in a criminal complaint on September 19, 2022, and Abduljabar Hussein are charged in a 20-count indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bribes under federal programs, bribes under federal programs, and money laundering. Abduljabar Hussein made his first appearance today in United States District Court before Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson. Mekfira Hussein will make his first appearance at a later date.
This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI, IRS – Criminal Investigations and the US Postal Inspection Service.
This case is being prosecuted 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 handles asset seizure and forfeiture.
An indictment is only an allegation and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.