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Federal prosectors have charged a 49th suspect in connection with a massive alleged scheme to defraud the Federal Child Nutrition Program. 

The U.S. Department of Justice first announced charges last week against 47 people believed to be connected to the $250 million scheme, which investigators believe is the largest COVID-19 fraud case in the nation. 

New charges allege Mohamed Muse Noor enrolled Xogmaal Media Group as a meal site in order to obtain fraudulent proceeds from the site's sponsor, Feeding Our Future. 

Within weeks of enrolling, Noor allegedly claimed the site was serving 1,000 children per day, seven days a week. 

According to the criminal complaint, an unnamed Feeding Our Future employee sent an email to then-executive director Aimee Bock expressing concern about sponsoring Xogmaal Media Group and other sites that had no connection to children.

"We took a lot of organization[s] that don't work with children or are advocate[s]," the email included in the criminal complaint stated. "I am just realizing that now. For example Xogmaal is a TV show program. They have no interest with children. These are the things we need to clean up."

Federal prosecutors allege Noor received around $494,000 in fraudulent proceeds from Feeding Our Future and transferred most of the funds to his cousin, Abdikerm Abelahi Eidleh. 

In an affidavit, FBI Special Agent Travis Wilmer stated Eidleh is now a fugitive believed to be in Mogadishu, Somalia. 

Eidleh, according to the criminal complaint, allegedly spent the fraudulent funds he received to "fund his lifestyle and enrich himself,", including spending funds on his mortgage, cryptocurrency and at a jewelry store in Dubai. 

Noor, a community journalist who’s widely known as Deeq Darajo, was arrested by FBI agents at the O'Hare Airport in Chicago after booking a flight to Turkey, according to the Sahan Journal

Republican candidates criticize response of state leaders 

The ongoing fraud investigation has become a focus of Republican candidates vying for state office in Minnesota's midterm elections.

Republican nominee for governor Scott Jensen and his running mate Matt Birk have called for Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller to resign and for a special investigation to examine how Gov. Tim Walz's administration handled the alleged fraud. 

"What did Governor Walz know?" Jensen posed during a press conference Monday. "When did he learn what he knew?"

Amid the criticism across the aisle, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Monday night took to Twitter to defend his office's role in the investigation.

"The indictments are a direct result of MDE and the AGO tipping off the FBI and fully cooperating for months during the investigation," Ellison wrote, adding state and federal agencies worked "hand-in-hand together to successfully hold Feeding Our Future accountable." 

Bring Me The News has reached out to the Walz campaign and the Minnesota Department of Education for comment.

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