Court documents show Mohamed Jama Ismail, 49, of Isanti, allegedly ran multiple companies in a scheme that collectively misappropriated more than $30 million of Federal Child Nutrition Program funds distributed through the Minnesota Department of Education.
KSTP (h/t RF) One of those companies, ThinkTechAct Foundation, claimed to MDE in June 2021 that it was serving meals to more than 160,000 children a day at 10 different distribution centers, according to court documents. From February 2021 to January 2022, ThinkTechAct received more than $21 million through the FCNP, which accounted for virtually all of the money the company deposited in its U.S. Bank account, court records show.
Of those funds, $12 million was eventually transferred to Empire Cuisine & Market LLC, which court documents describe as “a small storefront restaurant and market” in a Shakopee strip mall, the complaint says. Ismail and another person co-founded Empire Cusine & Market in April 2020.
The criminal complaint states Empire Cuisine & Market received another $12 million from Partners in Quality Care and Feeding Our Future. In the time since federal authorities opened an investigation, Partners in Quality Care has lost funding from MDE, and Feeding Our Future has dissolved as a nonprofit.