Plymouth Woman Pleads Guilty in Federal Child Nutrition Fraud Scheme
A Plymouth woman, whom prosecutors describe as “a serial fraudster,” has pleaded guilty to her role in trying to defraud the federal government out of more than $11 million. U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced the plea on Friday.
Prosecutors accused Anab Awad, 52, of operating a scheme with others to take advantage of a federally-funded child nutrition program. Court documents show Awad operated a nonprofit called Multiple Community Services that was supposed serve meals to kids at several food distribution sites, including one in Osseo.
However, court documents show Awad falsified invoices and meal count records, then later received funds that substantially exceeded the amount needed. Prosecutors say the scheme took advantage of oversight measures loosened during the pandemic. Awad admitted to participating in the scheme with others from September 20022 through January 2022.
The scheme was among others that took place during the pandemic, including the Feeding Our Future fraud investigation, described by prosecutors as the largest pandemic-related fraud case in the nation. Court documents show the Minnesota Department of Education paid out about $9.7 million of the $11.2 million in funds that Awad fraudulently claimed.
Court records also show Awad pleaded guilty in a separate Medicaid health care fraud scheme. In that case, prosecutors say Awad’s fraudulent claims caused nearly $100,000 in losses to the Minnesota Medicaid program. Awad conspired with mental health practitioners to sign billing forms for language interpretation services that were never provided, court documents showed.
Prosecutors say Awad transitioned to the nutrition program scheme as she was awaiting trial for the Medicaid fraudulent billing practices case.