Ten more people have been charged in the ongoing $250 million federal food aid fraud case involving the nonprofit Feeding Our Future, prosecutors announced Monday.

The additional charges reflect a deepening criminal probe that spans Minnesota. To date, 60 people have been charged since the first wave of indictments in September and U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said more are expected.

"Our work is not done and we expect to bring more charges in the future," Luger said during a news conference.

Luger said the government has now seized about $66.6 million in property in the massive fraud case. He did not provide an updated tally on the total alleged fraud — first estimated at $250 million — but said it is "growing and it will continue to grow."

Six people have pleaded guilty so far. Three of the 10 new defendants have been charged via felony criminal information, which Luger said indicated they were expected to plead guilty.

In outlining the new charges, Luger singled out allegations against Kawsar Jama, 41, of Eagan, indicted in an alleged $3.7 million scheme to falsely claim that she served 1.46 million meals to children while under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future between September 2020 and February 2022.

Luger said Jama claimed to operate federal food aid sites in Pelican Rapids, Burnsville and Minneapolis. In Pelican Rapids, Jama allegedly claimed to serve 2,560 meals daily to needy children — despite the town having a population of about 2,500.

Luger said Jama used phony invoices, and none of the children's names on reimbursement forms matched children enrolled in school locally. Jama allegedly reached out to a friend for help inventing new names as the scheme wore on. Luger added that Jama did not even operate a physical location at which she claimed to be serving the meals.

Jama is charged with five counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. She is accused of using money she received from the Federal Child Nutrition Program to buy real estate and vehicles that included a Tesla Model X and Infiniti QX56 SUV.

The indictments announced Monday include various charges of wire fraud, money laundering and federal programs bribery. The 10 new defendants will have their first court appearances early this week, Luger said, when a judge will decide whether to detain them or release them on bond.

Messages were left seeking comment for defendants who had either a phone number or attorney listed for them. Other defendants and allegations against them include:

  • Abdikadir Kadiye, 51, of Minneapolis, accused of laundering $20,000 of the $1.1 million in fraudulent claims he received from the government to purchase a laundromat.
  • Adulkadir Awale, 50, of Bloomington, CEO of Nawal Restaurant and the principal of Karmel Coffee LLC and Sambusa King Inc., accused of falsely claiming to have served 3.6 million meals at multiple sites, totaling $11.8 million in false federal food aid claims between April 2020 and January 2022.
  • Ayan Farah Abukar, 41, of Savage, founded Action for East African People and fraudulently received $5.7 million in federal money from October 2020 through 2022. She allegedly paid $330,000 in kickbacks to Hadith Ahmed, a Feeding Our Future employee who was previously indicted; spent $1.5 million of what she received on a 37-acre commercial property in Lakeville, and put $250,000 toward a Magnus Fusion 212 Aircraft to be delivered to Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Khadra Abdi, 41, of Minneapolis, received $3.4 million in false claims that she fed 1.1 million needy children from April 2020 to December 2021 while also paying at least $17,000 in kickbacks to Feeding Our Future employee Abdikerm Eidleh, who has also been indicted.
  • Sade Osman Hashi, 45, of Minneapolis, accused of falsely claiming to have served up to 2,500 kids daily via Great Lakes Inc. and Safari Express, at a site in Midtown Global Market. For that, according to charges, Hashi received $5.7 million in federal money and paid $150,000 in kickbacks to Ahmed.
  • Sharon Denise Ross, 52, of Big Lake, executive director of House of Refuge Twin Cities, received $2.8 million in fraudulent payments between October 2021 and January 2022 — some of which was spent on real estate, vehicles and payments to family.

Ross couldn't be reached for comment Monday, but in a March 2022 interview with the Star Tribune, Ross said House of Refuge kept records of enrollment, tracking names of children, birthdates and other data to verify the children fed weren't being duplicated by other food sites.

She said she operated two warehouses and eight refrigerated vehicles delivering meals to families' homes and partnered with 14 churches to distribute food.

"We're running a real organization and trying to get the kids fed," she said then. "Children need to eat, families need to eat. I take it very serious when I find that somebody has worked the system, that they weren't doing what they were supposed to do."

Those charged Monday by felony criminal information include Mohamed Ali Hussein, 53, and Lul Bashar Ali, 57, both of Faribault. They are accused of accepting more than $5 million in fraudulent federal money for a pair of sites in their hometown at which they falsely claimed to be serving meals to thousands of needy kids daily. They are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and Hussein is also accused of paying more than $100,000 to Eidleh.

Mulata Yusuf Ali, 38, of Minneapolis, is also charged by information with theft of federal nutrition funds for alleging taking more than $1,000. Ali's attorney, Andrew Mohring, declined to comment.

Staff writer Kelly Smith contributed to this report.