Politically correct fears of being called racist have allowed a massive daycare fraud scam run by Somali refugees in Minnesota to flourish and balloon out of control. $100 million in taxpayer cash may have been used to fund terrorists in the Middle East last year alone. A whistle-blower told DHS officials that his investigators had so much evidence they couldn’t process it all, but his superiors ignored the issue. Terrified of offending liberals, they looked the other way.
A special short notice hearing has been scheduled for today by the Health and Human Resources Reform Committee. Senator Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) promises to get to the bottom of the terror funding scam. He wants to know how much is true and what went wrong, so that it does not happen again. “So we will do a deep dive on this tomorrow,” he said yesterday.
Democrats are not happy. “Vilifying an entire community — as stories like this often do — does not serve justice or get results,” liberal State Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL – Minneapolis) complains.
“It is dangerous to draw a link between people sending remittances to their loved ones and the funding of terrorist organizations. I know too well that many Republicans will use this to further Islamophobic rhetoric within our society,” Omar adds.
Fear of offending minority migrants has allowed the abuse to spiral so far out of control that suitcases full of stolen cash are now leaving the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport on a weekly basis. Daycare fraud is “a great way to make some money,” the Attorney for Hennepin County, Mike Freeman agrees.
On March 15, a carry-on bag with $1 million in cash was carried through security, all perfectly legal with all the right forms filled out. In the past year, $100 million was carried through the same airport as carry-on luggage.
Former FBI joint terrorism task force investigator Glen Kerns tracked millions of dollars himself. “What we were interested in is where it was going.”
Mid-East countries without a formal banking system use what are called “Hawalas.” They are basically a worldwide network of couriers who carry cash all over the globe. Immigrant communities such as the Somalis use the Hawalas to transfer money to their relatives, just like Western Union.
The Hawala that operates in Somalia is controlled by the terror group al Shabaab. According to all the experts, no matter what the funds are meant for, al Shabaab gets a cut.
Kerns noticed that “tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of remittance payments” happened to be sent by people on welfare and food stamps. “We had sources that told us, ‘It’s welfare fraud, it’s all about the daycare.’”
It starts when daycare centers sign up low-income families who qualify for child care benefits. Just because they are checked in to the center does not mean the child is really there. The center bills for everyone who is there or not and gets a check from the state.
The parents get a regular envelope full of cash as a “kickback” for their participation in the scheme. Everyone in the community knows all about it.
“Starting a daycare center is a license to make money,” one resident said. It is so common that “people buy shares of daycare businesses to get a cut of the huge public subsidies that are pouring in.”
Even though the pattern is identical in case after case, all involving Somali nationals, Department of Human Services still won’t call it organized crime. “There’s a common pattern in how a lot of these are carried out, but beyond that, not something that I would directly categorize as organized crime.”
Local television station Fox 9 has been reporting the story for five years now but the Governor’s office says they never heard about it.
“My chief of staff, current and previous staff, from what I’m told, did not get any information alleging there was that kind of theft,” Governor Mark Dayton claims.
DHS claims they didn’t know the manager of the state’s digital forensics lab had been complaining for two years.
They vow they never saw the series of emails Scott Stillman sent them, informing them that his unit was “working on and overwhelmed by a significant amount of fraud cases,” until they got the Freedom of Information Act request to produce them.
“The Deputy Commissioner, communications, and legal staff learned there may be emails on this subject when Fox 9 made its data request in March,” DHS reports in a prepared statement.
Stillman started writing the department a year before, in March of 2017, to tell them his office was swamped by the sheer number of “fraud cases involving organized crime, defrauding hundreds of millions of dollars annually in taxpayer monies.”
“I have never seen anything like this level or scope in my 27-year career as an investigator,” he notes.
Stillman spent eight years in charge of the digital forensics lab for the state. It was his job to harvest the data from phones and computers. He was directly involved in the daycare investigations.
One of his emails was sent to the DHS Commissioner’s top assistant, clearly stating, “a significant amount of these defrauded dollars are being sent overseas to countries and organizations connected to entities known to fund terrorists and terrorism.”
Tim Pawlenty used to be Governor and is hoping to again, running this year. He isn’t buying the progressive excuses. “This is the latest outrageous example of what happens when politically correct politicians look the other way when it comes to criminal behavior. It’s beyond time to enforce our laws and keep Minnesotans safe.”
The Republican candidate for Attorney General, Doug Wardlow, backs him up. “America-hating terrorists” have $100 million dollars meant for Minnesota childcare programs, he says. “This is the latest case of why Minnesotans are tired of politically correct career politicians and their willingness to ignore criminal behavior.”