The Feeding Our Future/Medicaid connection

Allegedly, a Feeding Our Future defendant double-dipped with a Medicaid fraud. Somehow, I missed this MPR News article when it came out last month.

I’ve frequently speculated on the possible connection between free-food and fraud in other government entitlement programs.

The woman in question — Anab Awad of Plymouth — is defendant No. 33 in the Feeding Our Future case. In a separate Medicaid fraud case filed on March 11, 2021, she is defendant No. 6. She is presumed innocent in both cases. But because of the earlier indictment, she is one of the few Feeding Our Future defendants currently behind bars.

Here is the now-redacted indictment in the Medicaid case. The original press release includes additional names.

Two other Feeding defendants, both accused of passport fraud, are also still in custody.

The earlier Medicaid fraud involved a total of $5.4 million across 13 defendants. Awad’s take was allegedly $95,000.

The free-food indictment describes the role of Awad in the free-food fraud beginning on page 7, paragraph 21 and continues at page 17, paragraph 43. Awad was indicted as part of the Haji’s Kitchen network under the sponsorship of Partners in Nutrition.

The FBI alleges that free food sites hosted by Awab took in more than $11 million. One site alone claimed to have served more than 12,000 meals per day, for a period covering January to April 2021. The FBI claims that her involvement in the scheme extended into December 2021. Presumably, all of those invoices were paid by the state Department of Education (MDE).

Claims submitted by Awad’s sites for Multiple Community Services and Golden Meadows for January and February 2022 remain unpaid by MDE.

Those dates are significant, because on March 11, 2021, as noted above, Awab was indicated in that separate Medicaid fraud case.

The point being that Awad was allowed to continue to participate in the free-food program for nearly a year after being indicted for allegedly defrauding a different federal program.

Awad’s sites for Multiple Community Services and another nonprofit incorporated by her in 2021 (days after the earlier indictment) are on a list of 213 sites that Partners in Nutrition is seeking to reinstate to the free food programs.

From the free-food fraud, the FBI accuses Awad of using the proceeds to purchase two different Dodge Ram pickups (Indictment p. 19, para. 50).

The MPR news story mentions a third court case, this one a misdemeanor in Hennepin County. The Federal judge in his detention order in the Feeding case, refers to the same case in this passage (Order, p. 4),

The details of the underlying incident are troubling. Ms. Awad allegedly physically assaulted an individual and–despite a restraining order–subsequently texted the purported victim that the victim was a “dead person” who was being watched by Ms. Awad’s “tribe.”

The trial in the Medicaid case is scheduled for next month. Reportedly, the incident in Hennepin County has yet to reach trial.