Preventing the next Feeding Our Future
Did most free-food money go to fraud in Minnesota? It sure looks like it. In Gov. Walz’ budget proposal filed this week, the Walz administration has added some details to…
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that 14 figures indicted in the Feeding Our Future case have operated 11 daycare centers who have collectively received $22 million from the state in the past five years. The Star Tribune headline,
Figures linked to meals fraud case continue to collect millions in daycare support
DHS diligence questioned.
The “DHS” referenced stands for the state Department of Human Services, which oversees the day care programs and other programs that indicted figures tapped for revenue.
In fact, the main free-food program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) has its origins in this industry. In Minnesota, CACFP is overseen by a different state agency, the Department of Education (MDE).
For their part, DHS claims that they cannot suspend an operator merely for cheating (allegedly) a different government program. DHS says they are examining the operations under their purview more closely.
None of this will come as any surprise to careful readers of this site. One of the operations profiled by the Star Tribune is the Lakes Adult Day Care facility located at the JigJiga business center on Lake Street in Minneapolis. We profiled the center back in October.
It turns out that free-food fraudsters are among the nation’s most entrepreneurial people. Back in April, we profiled a St. Cloud grocer, convicted of defrauding the SNAP program of $4 million, who also ran a free-food site under CACFP. In September, MPR News profiled a woman in Plymouth who has been indicted for both Medicaid fraud and free-food fraud.
In October, we profiled one indicted figure, a Bloomington entrepreneur, who owns no less than a dozen companies.
Back in May, we profiled one indicted figure who also owned a personal care attendant (PCA) business subsidized by DHS. Showing connections between free-food and other government subsidized businesses has been a regular feature of our coverage for months.
The Star Tribune article from this weekend leads with a profile of an indicted husband and wife team. We profiled the wife for the first time in May.
The Star Tribune reports,
DHS officials said they are reviewing ties to everyone charged in the federal meals probe, but added they can’t ban anyone from participating in the department’s programs based on unrelated fraud allegations.
First of all, why not? And second of all, unrelated? The Star Tribune notes,
So far, five of the 50 people charged in the meals case have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges. Three of those people owned or managed daycares that received millions of dollars in public funding, records and interviews show.
Federal authorities have not directly linked any of the 11 daycare centers to the alleged meals fraud, but nine of the centers were approved to participate in the federally funded meals program by acting as meal sites with either Feeding Our Future or Partners in Nutrition, state records show.
The principle that would appear to apply here is summarized by the Latin phrase falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.
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