Minnesota State and City Taxpayers Lose Big on Somali-Run Daycare Fraud

Alphanews, August 19, 2015

Since the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) fully-staffed their new child care fraud investigative unit in the spring of 2014, they’ve worked with the FBI to shutter daycare centers around the state. Of the cases that have hit the news since then, all have involved Somali-run businesses.

Khadra Abdisafad Hirsi, 47, was the director and co-owner of Ace Daycare Center in Eden Prairie. In February, Hirsi pleaded guilty to knowingly submitting fraudulent claims to the state of Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program. From November of 2011-May of 2013, Hrisi inflated the number of children using her daycare’s services and fraudulently obtained $300,000 in payments from the state of Minnesota and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services. Earlier this month Hirsi was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution.

Hirsi, who also goes by the name of Khadra Duale, was employed by the City of Eden Prairie as a part-time community services technician, also known as the immigrant liaison, from October 2003-September 2011, she was also part-time staff at the Eden Prairie community center. Hirsi was paid $284,944 in salary and $35,806 in health and dental benefits by the city during that time. She co-owned the Ace Daycare in Eden Prairie with her husband Mohamed F. Arab, although there were no charges against him. The Eden Prairie news called Hirsi and her husband “leaders in the Somali community” in a 2009 video interview featuring the couple. {snip}

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Deqo daycare center, which had three locations in Apple Valley, St. Paul, and Minneapolis was shut down in 2013 due to licensing violations and prosecutors charged husband and wife Ahmed Aden Mohamed and Yasmin Abdulle Ali for bilking the state out of nearly $3.7 million, $3.1 million of which was collected from April 2012-January 2013. The duo had recruited more than 100 parents to enroll their own children in the program.

Salama Child Care Center in Minneapolis was raided in May of this year by the FBI and state agents. Salama is run by Ardo Diriye whose daughter Farah Adid is the Director of Operations and is “also licensed to provide standardized day care and preschool curriculum.” Per KSTP News, the search warrant indicated that there was a large discrepancy between the number of children attending and the number receiving state funds. The investigation is ongoing and includes suspicion of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and theft of public money.

Yasmin Muhina Salim, owner of Kind Heart Day Care Center in Mankato, was arrested in June of 2014 for defrauding the state for $12,000 over a three month period.

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