Written by Selwyn Duke
It sounds like something from a movie: A man is caught at an airport with one million in cash in a carry-on suitcase. Yet in what some have called the “worst scandal in Minnesota history,” this scene plays out weekly at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, with more than $100 million dollars leaving country and ending up in the Middle East and North Africa just last year. The kicker?
Some of it is your tax money — and some of it went into the hands of a terrorist group.
While they probably weren’t told to beware the Ides of March, a 3/15 tip about the one-million-dollar man did lead media outlet Fox 9 to the story. As it reported Sunday, the currency was from “Hawalas,” Islamic-model businesses sometimes used by immigrants “to courier money to countries that have no official banking system” — and little law and order. Thus did former Seattle police detective Glen Kerns discover that “some of the money was being funneled to a Hawala in the region of Somalia that is controlled by the al Shabaab terrorist group,” the news organ further informed.
Yet the story gets even worse. Fox 9 again:
As Kerns dug deeper, he found that some of the individuals who were sending out tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of remittance payments happened to be on government assistance in this country.
How could they possibly come up with such big bucks to transfer back home?
“We had sources that told us, ‘It’s welfare fraud, it’s all about the daycare,’” said Kerns.
…Five years ago the Fox 9 Investigators were first to report that daycare fraud was on the rise in Minnesota, exposing how some businesses were gaming the system to steal millions in government subsidies meant to help low-income families with their childcare expenses.
“It’s a great way to make some money,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
In order for the scheme to work, the daycare centers need to sign up low income families that qualify for child care assistance funding.
Surveillance videos from a case prosecuted by Hennepin County show parents checking their kids into a center, only to leave with them a few minutes later. Sometimes, no children would show up.
Either way, the center would bill the state for a full day of childcare.
Video from that same case shows a man handing out envelopes of what are believed to be kickback payments to parents who are in on the fraud.
Ah, our tax money at work.
Worse still, Kerns reports that it doesn’t even matter if the money is sent back home for legitimate purposes: When it enters areas controlled by al Shabaab, the jihadist group demands a cut.