Dozens indicted in feeding scandal. Could Dothan be next?
Nearly 50 people have been charged with stealing from a Minnesota child nutrition program like the one in Dothan that is targeted in a criminal investigation.
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Nearly 50 people have been charged with stealing from a Minnesota child nutrition program like the one targeted in a Dothan investigation.
Prosecutors in Minneapolis allege those indicted created companies that claimed to be offering food to tens of thousands of children, then sought reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The 47 defendants named Tuesday are accused of using those stolen funds of about $250 million to purchase luxury cars, real estate, jewelry, and exotic vacations.
“This $250 million is the floor,” U.S. Attorney Andy Luger of Minnesota said when announcing the indictments following a nine-month FBI probe. “Our investigation continues.”
The FBI is also investigating Dothan’s troubled feeding program riddled with bid rigging and other allegations.
The city of Dothan’s Department of Leisure Services has served after-school meals prepared by a private restaurant for much of three years beginning in 2019.
In 2020, COVID money injected about three million additional dollars into the nutrition initiative, with reimbursement paperwork prepared by a now-terminated city employee.
Those documents showed that on some days thousands of meals were served.
Like in Minnesota, the federal government reimbursed the cost of those meals.
Supervisors of the Dothan program have been terminated and suspended and other city employees disciplined but nobody has been charged.
Minnesota suspects face multiple counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery.
Subscribe to our News 4 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning. Get instant notifications on top stories from News 4 by downloading our mobile apps.
Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.