Minneapolis City Council member’s wife’s nonprofit says it feeds 2,500 children a day

Minneapolis City Councilman Jamal Osman’s wife started a nonprofit that said it feeds 2,500 children a day under a federal program that was rocked by alleged fraud in Minnesota.

Ilo Amba incorporated a nonprofit called Urban Advantage Services in November 2020, registering her office in the south Minneapolis home she shares with Osman. The registered address was changed to a suite of downtown office buildings on December 21, 2021 – about a month before the FBI began raiding homes as part of its extensive investigation which has already resulted in 49 indictments, and more are expected.

Reached by phone, Osman, elected in 2020, said he had no time to speak and hung up. Amba did not return a phone call seeking comment.

An entity called Urban Advantage Center is listed as a food distribution site in the Federal Child Nutrition Program, with the same downtown Minneapolis address as Amba’s nonprofit Urban Advantage Services.

Urban Advantage Center reported feeding 2,500 children a day from February 1, 2021 through September 2021 under the sponsorship of Partners in Nutrition, according to state records. Partners in Nutrition is a St. Paul nonprofit that state regulators shut down after some of the sites it sponsored were charged in connection with the $250 million fraud. The state halted payments in January after the FBI raids began, saying the nonprofit was “directly responsible for distributing more than $57.7 million in misappropriated funds.”

Partners in Nutrition filed a lawsuit, asking a federal judge to overturn the state’s decision, but last week the judge refuse to restore the association. Lawsuit documents show Amba requested two more distribution sites, which were listed among 213 sites denied by the state this year.

Neither Osman nor Amba have been charged with a crime.

Osman took his name off another nonprofit called Stigma-Free International and passed it on to others who went to blouse the federal government more than $10 million, according to federal prosecutors.

Osman, Amba and two others incorporated Stigma-Free in August 2019, but on October 15, 2020, new documents were released. filed with the state showing new founders, minus Osman and Amba. Amba incorporated Urban Advantage Center about a month later.

Two days after Osman’s name was removed from Stigma-Free’s incorporation documents, Amy Bock, executive director of Feeding Our Future, and Ahmed Artan, Stigma-Free’s new president, began putting together food distribution sites sponsored by Feeding Our Future.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said at a press conference on September 20 announcing the first set of indictments that it was only the “first set of charges”.

Authorities say a non-profit organization called Feeding Our Future was at the center of an effort to defraud the government of 125 million meals that were supposed to go to children in need. Bock founded Partners in Nutrition before leaving to start Feeding Our Future. She pleaded innocent.

Prosecutors say Feeding our Future employees recruited people to open sites across the state, who then falsely claimed to serve meals to thousands of children a day within days to weeks of installation .

The investigation continues to ripple through a growing body of politicians. A former senior political aide to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the former chairman of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority – appointed by Frey and the city council – have both been accused.

And a key former aide to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in Iowa went to work as a consultant for Feeding Our Future. He was also deputy director of a non-profit organization that ran six food distribution sites – sponsored by Feeding Our Future – which said it served 4,000 children a day. He and the nonprofit have not been charged with any crime.

Stigma-Free was fraudulently reimbursed for sites across Minnesota, including Willmar, Mankato, St. Cloud, Waite Park and St. Paul, prosecutors say.

Feeding Our Future traded the lucrative sponsorships for more than $18 million in fees and obtained kickbacks and kickbacks, disguised as consultancy fees paid to front companies, prosecutors say.

Earlier this year, Osman Told Sahan Diary he did mental health outreach before leaving Stigma-Free in June 2020 and has never worked with food programs or had any association with Feeding Our Future.

The Urban Advantage Services address is in a brick building in downtown Minneapolis.

In an office directory, Stigma-Free International, Inc. is listed as the tenant across the hall from Urban Advantage.

The office manager of a one-story law firm, Yang Moua, said she had never seen children come to look for food in the building, although she had occasionally seen children. people packing and loading trucks with food.

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