MINNEAPOLIS (WJON News)  – A St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to his role in the $250 million fraud scheme that exploited a federally-funded child nutrition program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents, 40-year-old Abdul Abubakar Ali admitted that from December 2020 through January 2022, he knowingly and willfully conspired with others to participate in a fraudulent scheme to obtain and misappropriate millions of dollars in federal child nutrition program funds that were intended as reimbursements for the cost of serving meals to underprivileged children.

According to his guilty plea, Ali used a non-profit entity called Youth Inventors Lab as a shell company to carry out his scheme. Ali and his co-conspirators enrolled Youth Inventors Lab in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future.

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In total, Youth Inventors Lab claimed to have served over 1.3 million meals between December 2020 through June 2021 and fraudulently received $3,029,786 in reimbursements from Feeding Our Future.

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