Attempted $120K bribe reported by juror in trial related to pandemic relief fraud

According to court documents, federal authorities are currently investigating a possible attempted bribe involving a juror in a federal trial concerning an alleged pandemic relief fraud scheme. The juror informed the police that she was offered a bribe of $120,000 in cash in exchange for acquitting the defendants.

Federal prosecutors are currently trying seven individuals in connection with the biggest pandemic relief fraud scheme to date. The accused are alleged to have participated in a $250 million fraud via the Minnesota nonprofit organization Feeding Our Future. The scheme is said to have taken advantage of funds from a federal child nutrition program during the COVID-19 pandemic to purchase high-end items such as luxury cars and houses.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed in connection with the trial, the cash involved in the alleged bribery attempt was delivered on Sunday, a day before the closing arguments in the Minneapolis federal court trial were scheduled to conclude.

According to the affidavit, a lady visited the residence of Juror #52, who was identified in court records, around 9 p.m. on Sunday. Although the juror was not present, one of their relatives answered the door. The woman gave a gift bag to the relative and said it was a present for Juror #52, using their first name.

According to the affidavit, the woman instructed a family member to inform Juror #52 to deliver a “not guilty” verdict the following day, with the promise of more rewards in the future.

According to the affidavit, which contained photos of the cash, the Spring Lake Park Police Department was summoned and discovered around $120,000 in $100, $50, and $20 bills inside the gift bag. The juror was questioned by the FBI, and the cash was taken into their custody on Monday.

According to the affidavit, the FBI currently has custody of the cellphones of the seven defendants who had access to Juror #52’s identifying information. The search warrant specifically targeted these devices as part of the investigation.

According to the affidavit, it is probable that an individual who had access to the juror’s personal details was working together with, at the very least, the person who delivered the $120,000 bribe.

According to KSTP, a Twin Cities ABC affiliate, Juror #52 was dismissed on Monday and the judge has ordered for the jurors to be sequestered for deliberations.

During the start of the deliberations on Tuesday morning, KSTP reported that a second juror had been dismissed from the trial. This was due to the juror being informed by a family member about the alleged attempted bribe.

All of the seven defendants currently on trial have asserted their innocence regarding the alleged Feeding Our Future fraud scheme and have entered not guilty pleas in response to their charges.

Numerous individuals are facing charges related to conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery in connection to an alleged scheme. Many others charged in the case have already entered a guilty plea.

Aimee Bock, the founder of Feeding our Future, is among the defendants who are currently awaiting trial. Despite the allegations, she has firmly maintained her innocence.

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MBS Staff
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