Posted on June 10, 2024

FBI Searches Defendant’s Home After Juror Was Allegedly Offered a $120,000 Bribe for a Not Guilty Verdict

Melissa Chan, NBC, June 6, 2024

Federal agents have searched the Minnesota home of at least one of the seven defendants facing a high-profile fraud trial, days after a juror said someone attempted to bribe her with nearly $120,000 in cash in exchange for an acquittal.

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The seven defendants are accused of misusing millions of dollars meant to feed children during the pandemic. {snip}

On the eve of deliberations Sunday night, a juror said a woman delivered a gift bag full of cash and left it with a relative, according to an FBI search warrant affidavit. The jurors’ names have not been made public, but the visitor knew the woman’s first name and told her relative that there would “be more of that present tomorrow” if the juror agreed to vote not guilty, the affidavit said.

The juror was dismissed after reporting the alleged bribe attempt to the court and police. A second juror was released Tuesday after a family member brought up the alleged bribe in a conversation.

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The search comes as the sequestered jury continues deliberating the fate of Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, Mohamed Jama Ismail, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, Said Shafii Farah, Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin, Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff and Hayat Mohamed Nur. The defendants are facing felony charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud, federal programs bribery and money laundering.

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From April 2020 to January 2022, according to a criminal complaint, the defendants collectively received more than $40 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which were meant to provide free, nutritious meals to children and low-income families.

While the defendants claimed to have fed millions of children with those funds, prosecutors said they used most of the money to buy multiple homes, properties and luxury vehicles.

The defendants were among 70 people charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota in a massive fraud scheme involving the nonprofit Feeding Our Future. {snip}

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