ST. PAUL, Minn. – A St. Paul man involved in a multi-million dollar public benefits fraud scheme has been sentenced to five years in jail.
In 2014, Joshua John Miller was considered an accomplice in what Ramsey County officials called a “massive” fraud scheme involving a Somali-run child care and home health care business, according to the Star Tribune. The owners of the businesses, Yasmin A. Ali and her husband Ahmed A. Mohamed, were charged with swindling $4 million from Minnesota taxpayers by falsifying records and hiding money in another family-owned business in order to obtain public assistance.
Miller was charged on one count of felony-level racketeering, and received his sentence earlier this month.
The scheme, which goes as far back as 2009, took over two years for Ramsey County prosecutors to investigate. Ali and Mohamed face most of the charges for the alleged fraud. Neither have appeared for their court hearings and warrants have been issued for their arrest, according to the Pioneer Press.
Most of the fraudulent funds were acquired through Ali’s Deqo Family Center, a child care provider with facilities in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Apple Valley. With the help of Miller and one other employee, Ali organized a complex scheme that allowed her businesses to scam millions of dollars from Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program and the Minnesota Health Care Program.
According to the Star Tribune, Ali recruited mothers eligible for state-provided child care to enroll their kids in the program as well as offering to hire them to work at Deqo. Through fraudulent pay stubs and falsified training records, Ali was able to receive over $3 million from the state in reimbursement. Ali also solicited $450,000 from individuals for stock in Deqo, but investors never saw any ownership rights.
The other employee allegedly involved with the fraud scheme, Jordan Christopher Smith, was sentenced to 10 years probation last year.