A Kenyan man is set to lose a luxury hotel, cars a and apartments after pleading guilty to a Covid 19 scam in the United States.
The scam which was exposed in October last year involved non profit organizations from Minnesota that colluded steal American tax payers money by pretending they were feeding poor children during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The organisations reported serving more meals than they actually did—or completely invented their numbers without ever serving meals—in order to receive federal reimbursement dollars.
The money was then used to buy luxury property across the world including in Kenya where one of the key suspects, Liban Yasin Alishire bought the Karibu Palms Resort in Diani plus apartments in South B, Nairobi.
Alishire, 43, a Kenyan who emigrated to the US has pleaded guilty to taking part in the scam. He had been charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In exchange, prosecutors have agreed to drop 16 other counts.
In court, Alishire admitted taking nearly $1.8 million from government child nutrition programs by falsely claiming to have served 870,000 meals over 11 months in 2020 and 2021. He used shell companies to transfer much of the ill-gotten proceeds to himself.
Alishire further admitted that after enrolling in the Federal Child Nutrition Program, he began submitting fraudulent claims for reimbursement for serving meals to hundreds or thousands of children a day. Alishire falsified invoices to document the purchase of food, and the preparation and submitting of falsified attendance rosters purporting to document the names of children who received meals.
Alishire also operated a distribution company, Ace Distribution Services, that purported to provide meals to be served to children at the Community Enhancement Services site.
In total, Community Enhancement Services claimed to have served over 800,000 meals between February and October 2021, and Lake Street Kitchen claimed to have served over 70,000 meals between December 2020 and April 2021. In reality, Community Enhancement Services and Lake Street Kitchen served a fraction of the meal amounts claimed.
Based on the fraudulent claims, Community Enhancement Services and Lake Street Kitchen received more than a million dollars in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds from their sponsor entity, Feeding Our Future. Alishire caused the transfer of much of this money to himself and others via shell companies used to receive and launder the proceeds of the fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Hoodo Properties was one such shell company Alishire controlled and used to launder proceeds from the fraud scheme. On or about November 22, 2021, Alishire conducted a wire transfer of $216,300 from Hoodo Properties to Jaafar Jelle & Co. towards the purchase of the Karibu Palms Resort in Diani Beach, Kenya
Alishire is one of 50 defendants charged last year in what Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger called a “brazen scheme of staggering proportions” to defraud two meal programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered on the state level by the Minnesota Department of Education.
Alishire is the sixth defendant in the case to admit his role in the conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel told Alishire that if she orders consecutive sentences for each count, he could face up to 15 years in prison. But defense attorneys and prosecutors agreed that he should serve between 41 and 51 months.
The plea deal requires Alishire to pay $712,084 in restitution and forfeit a boat, trailer, and Ford F150 pickup truck.