Juror dismissed for $120K bribe attempt in Feeding Our Future trial

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TL/DR –

A woman attempted to bribe a juror with $120,000 in cash in the high-profile, Feeding Our Future federal trial which centers on one of the largest pandemic fraud schemes in the U.S., linked to stealing $250 million in federal money meant for feeding needy children. The attempt led to the juror’s dismissal and sequestration of the remaining jury. The trial involves 70 people, including the seven current defendants who are alleged to have fraudulently received $40 million for meals, of which only 10% is thought to have been spent on food.


A Mysterious Woman offers Bribe in Feeding Our Future Fraud Case

A woman delivered a $120,000 bribe to a Feeding Our Future federal trial juror in a bid to acquit the seven defendants involved in a nation-wide fraud scheme, according to an FBI warrant.

The incident was promptly reported and the juror dismissed, while the FBI remains on the case. The accused are part of a larger scheme, involving 70 individuals charged with stealing over $250 million in federal funds.

Federal laws stipulate that bribing a juror carries up to a decade in prison. U.S. Attorney Joseph Thompson emphasizes the gravity of the incident, stating it undermines the judicial system’s integrity.

The remaining jurors were sequestered by Judge Brasel and questioned about potential contact with case affiliates. Additional security measures were rolled out, including the confiscation of the defendants’ phones.

All defendants now face detention until investigators can determine the source of the leak, leading to emotional scenes in the courtroom.

The incident has raised safety concerns, with the approached juror fearing potential retaliation.

The defendants, charged in 2022 with wire fraud, money laundering, and other offenses, have links to a Shakopee restaurant, Empire Cuisine & Market.

The accused allegedly used only 10% of the $40 million they received on actual food for low-income children, while the rest was laundered through fabricated companies and fraudulent meal claims.

Prosecutors have connected some defendants to kickbacks disguised as consultation fees, luxury purchases, and property investments.

Defense lawyers have challenged the FBI’s investigation, arguing that agents failed to verify meal distribution at various food sites.

In their closing arguments, the defense accused the prosecution of relying on selective data and unreliable witness testimony, lacking substantial evidence.

The defense maintains that their clients distributed actual food to children in need, arguing that alleged kickbacks were merely cultural transactions within the East African community.

Prosecutor Thompson refuted defendant’s claims of minor roles and partial food service, arguing that even partial fraud constitutes a crime. Thompson labeled the operation as an \”overwhelming fraud scheme.\”

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