Food fraud in a student meals program in Minneapolis leads to an arrest

MINNEAPOLIS – A man who authorities say is a target in a sweeping investigation into alleged fraud in a student meals program has been arrested on a passport charge. Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Mohamed Jama Ismail was charged with making a false statement when he applied for a new passport in March – after authorities seized his passport in January.

Ismail was arrested Wednesday at the airport. His attorney, Patrick Cotter, says Ismail’s motive was to go see his family, not flee the country. Ismail is one of the owners of Empire Cuisine & Market. Court documents unsealed in January say Ismail and his partners misappropriated more than $11 million that was intended for Feeding Our Future.