A daycare-fraud scheme involving dozens of Minnesota daycare centers operated by Muslim immigrants from Somalia may have scammed up to $100 million from the U.S. government through bogus applications for welfare subsidies.
To make matters worse, some of that money is reportedly being used to finance radical Islamic terrorism around the world, according to a bombshell investigation by Fox 9 in Minneapolis.
Minnesota authorities are currently investigating at least 10 daycare centers for overbilling the state. Most of the centers are owned by immigrants from Somalia, whose population is 99.9% Muslim.
One of the scammers is Fozia Ali, who recently pled guilty to daycare fraud and is now serving time in a federal prison. Ali (pictured above) allegedly billed the government for more than $1 million in bogus childcare services.
“We found records that she was collecting a significant amount of money for a much larger number of children than were actually attending the center,” said FBI rep Craig Lisher. “We are aware that some of the funds went overseas, what she was cashing out, money from the business.”
Investigators who tracked Fozia Ali’s activities through her cell phone found that she had used an app to bill the state of Minnesota for childcare services when she was out of the country. Authorities also discovered that she stayed in lavish, $800-a-night hotels when she recently took a two-month vacation to Dubai and Kenya.
Minnesota has the highest Somali population in the United States. Democrat Keith Ellison, who’s from Minnesota, is the first Muslim Congressman in U.S. history. Ellison is also the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Despite the damning evidence, Congressman Ellison slammed the government for investigating the crooks who are scamming taxpayers (i.e., his bosses). In a statement, Ellison said authorities should be making it easier for Somali immigrants to send money to the Middle East and North Africa:
“Financial stability for the Somali people, both here and in Somalia, is one of our strongest protections against the terroristic threat posed by Al-Shabaab. We should be making it easier for our constituents to support their families — not impugning the community for it. Fox 9 should issue a thorough correction and apology for its irresponsible reporting.”
Members of the Minneapolis Somali community told Fox 9 that the daycare fraud is widespread, and investigators tracking the money believe much of it is being used to finance terrorism.
“Our sources tells us that. Good sources – from the community leaders,” said detective Glen Kerns, a 15-year veteran of the FBI’s joint terrorism task force. “We had sources that told us, ‘It’s welfare fraud, it’s all about the daycare.’ It’s an outright crime, it’s unbelievable.”
Fox 9 reported:
“Sources in the Somali community told Fox 9 it is an open secret that starting a daycare center is a license to make money. The fraud is so widespread they said, that people buy shares of daycare businesses to get a cut of the huge public subsidies that are pouring in.”
This daycare fraud scheme has reportedly been going on since at least 2013, when authorities first started investigating it. Surveillance videos show parents pretending to drop off their children at the fake daycare centers, only to leave with their kids minutes later. On some days, the parents don’t even go bother to go through the charade.
The daycare centers apply for government subsidies meant to help low-income families with their childcare expenses, and get paid for providing a full day of childcare for each child.
Surveillance videos from inside the daycare centers show a man handing out what are believed to be envelopes filled with cash kickbacks to pay the parents who participate in this fraud (see below).
The daycare operators then work with other con artists to transport millions of dollars in cash to the Middle East and Africa. Authorities were alerted to this latest scam when a tipster warned them that a man was leaving the country with $1 million in cash hidden in a suitcase.
The man was apprehended at the airport in Minneapolis. That’s when authorities learned that this money-laundering has been occurring almost every week at the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport.
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