The individuals reportedly falsified records to obtain public assistance via a home health care business and three child care centers in the Twin Cities. Their efforts swindled the state out of about $4 million, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said.
“I am a supporter of a safety net in our community, and it’s very troubling … to know there are people in our community who would take advantage of the good intentions of the public,” Choi said. “We do stand ready to prove the allegations in criminal court … and hold these defendants accountable for their gross abuse of our community’s good intentions … and the harm they caused.”
Yasmin Abdulle Ali, 33 of Fridley; her husband, Ahmed Aden Mohamed, 46, of Fridley; Joshua John Miller, 31, of St. Paul; and Jordan Christopher Smith, 31, of Cottage Grove were all charged for varying degrees of participation in the criminal enterprise, according to criminal complaints filed against them in Ramsey County District Court.
Mohamed was still at large Wednesday.
The criminal investigation began in 2012 after a “whistle blower” came forward, Choi said. The subsequent investigation took more than two years and involved multiple agencies.
Ali is the alleged mastermind behind the scheme, according to court documents.
She was the substantial owner of the involved businesses, which included All Nations Home Health Care and the Deqo Family Center, with locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Apple ValleyMohamed ran daily operations at the St. Paul child care center. Miller was involved with operations at both the child care centers and the home health care business.
Smith was contracted to help with billing for All Nations.
Under Ali’s direction, the defendants allegedly falsified documents to illegally receive a substantial amount of money from Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program and the Minnesota Health Care Program.
The alleged criminal conduct included creating false pay stubs, inflating work hours and fraudulently using other people’s identities to qualify for benefits.
Citing numerous violations, the Minnesota Department of Human Services revoked Deqo’s license to provide child care at its St. Paul and Minneapolis locations. The Apple Valley location also closed.
Ali and Mohamed are also charged with concealing profits and failing to pay enough in taxes.
Scams involving the home health care business allegedly began in 2009. Criminal activity at the child care centers date back to at least 2012, court documents say.
Ali is charged with 52 felony counts, including racketeering, theft by swindle, concealing criminal proceeds and failure to pay income taxes. Mohamed faces 20 counts for similar crimes. Miller was charged with 17 criminal counts, while Smith, who appears to have been the least involved, faces seven.
Ali and Miller are slated to appear in court on the charges Thursday. Smith was charged by summons and is scheduled to make his first court appearance Jan. 7.
No phone numbers could be found to reach Miller, Smith or Mohamed.
Repeated attempts to call the number listed for Ali were met with a busy signal.
Sarah Horner can be reached at 651-228-5539. Follow her at twitter.com/hornsarah.