Prior to the pandemic, Feeding Our Future was a sponsor organization and distributed $3.4 million in federal funds through the Federal Child Nutrition Program in 2019. In 2021, that number ballooned to more than $200 million, with shell companies pocketing the cash by creating fake kids and fake pick-up locations.
Feeding Our Future took an administration fee of $18 million in addition to kickbacks from these fake companies. They used the money to buy things like luxury vehicles and real estate in both the US and abroad and for international travel (via The United States Department of Justice). According to The New York Times, there are 39,000 open investigations into pandemic relief money fraud; this was the largest uncovered to date.
With almost 12 million children food insecure in the US, government programs are needed to ensure children are fed. During the pandemic, these special programs helped curb food shortages in households with children by 40%, which researchers believe is a direct result of the flexibility allowed (via US News and World Report).
“Exploiting a government program intended to feed children at the time of a national crisis is the epitome of greed,” said Justin Campbell, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation, in a statement. “As alleged, the defendants charged in this case chose to enrich themselves at the expense of children. Instead of feeding the future, they chose to steal from the future.”