A federal grand jury on Friday indicted the founder of a Somali online news company on charges related to the Feeding Our Future fraud conspiracy case, one month after agents thwarted his attempt to leave the country.

Mohamed Muse Noor, who also goes by Deeq Darajo, has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He pleaded not guilty in his first appearance on the charges Friday in federal court in Minneapolis.

Noor's attorney, Jason Steck, declined to comment when reached by the Star Tribune after Noor's court appearance.

Noor's Xogmaal Media Group was sponsored by the nonprofit Feeding Our Future, the group at the center of an alleged $250 million scheme to steal money from the Federal Child Nutrition Program designed to feed needy children during the pandemic.

Noor was arrested in Chicago in September, and prosecutors say he booked a flight to Istanbul, Turkey before his arrest.

According to charges, Noor is the cousin of Feeding Our Future employee Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh, who also is a co-defendant in the case and suspected of pocketing millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Federal prosecutors say Eidleh is a fugitive now believed to be in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Together, they and others allegedly submitted fake documents claiming to serve some 580,000 meals from February to June 2021. Noor allegedly claimed that Xogmaal was entitled to $1.3 million in federal child nutrition program money and received nearly $500,000 from June to August of last year. Of that total, Noor is accused of paying 80% to entities controlled by Eidleh. Prosecutors said those entities were used to "misappropriate and launder the proceeds of the fraud scheme."

Correction: Previous versions of this story should have said that Mohamed Muse Noor was arrested in Chicago.