United States authorities charged 48 people in Minnesota with conspiracy and other counts in what they said Tuesday was the largest pandemic-related fraud scheme yet, stealing $250 million from a federal program that provides meals to low-income children.
Federal prosecutors say the defendants created companies that claimed to be offering food to tens of thousands of children across Minnesota, then sought reimbursement for those meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food nutrition programs. Prosecutors say few meals were actually served, and the defendants used the money to buy luxury cars, property and jewelry.
“This $250 million is the floor,” Andy Luger, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said at a news conference. “Our investigation continues.”