Defendants attempt to bribe juror with $120K stuffed in a Hallmark gift bag

 June 8, 2024

There was a bizarre twist in a Minnesota-based case that involved five people who were convicted in a scheme that resulted in the theft of over $40 million in funds earmarked for starving children during the pandemic.

According to the New York Post, the case involved a brazen, last-minute bribe attempt that included $120,000 in cash in a Hallmark gift bag.

The bag of cash was delivered to one of the juror's homes the night before the jury was ordered to court to hear closing arguments from both sides.

Ultimately, the juror who received the bribe was dismissed, and a second juror who knew about the attempted bribe was also dismissed.

Incredible case

The defendants involved in the case, who happen to all be of East African descent, are part of a much larger group of 70 others who officials say were behind the largest financial scheme of the pandemic.

Prosecutors said that in total, the scheme garnered the group of scammers an astonishing $250 million, and only $50 million of the stolen funds has been recovered so far.

Of the seven defendants, Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, Mohamed Jama Ismail, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff and Hayat Mohamed Nur were convicted on counts such as "wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and federal programs bribery."

Two additional defendants, Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin and Said Shafii Farah, were acquitted.

Attorneys for the defendants attempted to argue that the charity was legit and that the funds were used as intended.

Out of a movie

US Attorney Joseph Thompson described the bribery attempt as "the stuff that happens in mob movies," saying the attempt was "completely beyond the pale."

The Post noted:

A woman dropped the would-be bribe off at Juror 52’s suburban Minneapolis home Sunday evening in a gift bag adorned with curly ribbons and pictures of flowers and butterflies.

She rang the doorbell and passed the gift bag loaded with $20, $50 and $100 bills to a relative who answered the door, calling it a “present” for the juror.

The juror wasn't home at the time, but upon arriving home immediately reported the situation to the police.

Bribing a juror comes with stiff consequences, including up to 15 years in prison.

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