A government official in Somalia allegedly took millions of dollars in federal aid intended to feed children in Minnesota and instead purchased cars, real estate, and travel.
Qamar Ahmed Hassan, a registered nurse and the owner of S&S Catering, left Minnesota and took a job as a regional state minister in Somalia whose portfolio includes human rights and helping women and children.
Last month, investigators in the U.S. alleged that Qamar and her associates misappropriated millions of dollars through a federal child nutrition program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Education.
Qamar’s company, S&S Catering, received reimbursements through Feeding Our Future, a St. Anthony-based nonprofit responsible for administering federal funds to feed disadvantaged children across the state, and Partners in Nutrition, another Minnesota nonprofit that managed food aid.
Qamar legally changed her name to Ubah Hussein Dhiblawe in 2017, according to divorce filings in Hennepin County Family Court. When Qamar applied to participate in food aid programs in Minnesota, she used the old name instead of her new one.
After reviewing court documents and social media accounts, Sahan Journal can now reveal that Qamar (now using the name Ubah) is the minister of Women, Human Rights and Child Development in the Galmudug regional state of Somalia.
Sahan Journal contacted Qamar through email, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But Qamar did not respond to questions about her role at S&S catering, her name change, or her work as regional state minister.
In an interview with Sahan Journal, Feeding Our Future Executive Director Aimee Bock denied all wrongdoing and stated that she and her organization performed the oversight required by the federal nutrition program.
To date, no one has been criminally charged in the federal food fraud investigation.
Qamar Ahmed Hassan was allegedly part of a scheme to misappropriate millions
FBI search warrants from January laid out the details of a complicated fraud scheme involving Feeding Our Future and other local nonprofits and businesses.
Feeding Our Future allegedly sent $3 million in federal funds to S&S Catering, according to the search warrant. The two people involved with the company, including Qamar, funneled funds to a company they created called Golis Properties LLC.
Through Golis Properties, they spent $2.5 million to purchase three buildings in south Minneapolis. In August 2021, they also spent nearly $5 million on two different commercial buildings on Lake Street and $257,732 on a residential property. Qamar also used $505,000 of federal food aid funds to purchase an apartment in Nairobi in April 2021.
The warrant says bank records show that as of October 2021, Golis Properties LLC had a balance of approximately $1.3 million.
The warrant says S&S Catering spent $100,000 at car dealerships in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Brooklyn Park, and Waite Park in 2021 using funds from S&S Catering accounts, which received money from federal child nutrition programs.
S&S Catering also spent $49,000 on lavish trips. In May and June 2021, Qamar wrote approximately $27,000 in checks from S&S Catering bank accounts towards Amax Travel, an agency that specializes in packages for people traveling to make the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca. In July, Qamar wrote a check for more than $21,000 at another travel agency in Minneapolis.
Qamar Ahmed Hassan becomes Ubah Dhiblawe
Kayseh Magan, an investigator who works on cases related to health care, has been following the Feeding Our Future fraud allegations.
On his own time, he said, he has been researching names of individuals mentioned in federal search warrants.
“They say that they were helping Somali children and they were not,” Kayseh said. “That’s just another way of defrauding and hurting the Somali community.”
He told Sahan Journal he used publicly available documents to reveal the connection between Qamar and Ubah.
On her social media profiles, Ubah identifies herself as a minister of Women, Human Rights, and Child Development in the Galmudug regional state of Somalia. The government agency is responsible for promoting social and economic empowerment of women in Somalia, protecting families and children through policy, and human rights advocacy.
Qamar’s LinkedIn profile (under the name Ubah) shows that she started working in this position in April 2020. The FBI search warrants allege Qamar misused federal food aid as early as July 2020. This timeline suggests Qamar allegedly misappropriated funds while also working in her role as a Somali regional official.
The date of birth for Qamar on the divorce documents matches the date of birth listed on Ubah’s Twitter profile—October 8. A search of Qamar’s court records in Minnesota shows the same date of birth.
“This person is in a position of public trust back in Somalia,” Kayseh said. “The public there doesn’t have the resources to uncover that this person has allegedly defrauded the United States government of millions of dollars. I felt some responsibility that the public should know about this.”
Who is Ubah Dhiblawe?
Despite being a government official in Somalia, Qamar’s LinkedIn profile (under the name Ubah) offers an overview of her presence in Minnesota where she primarily worked in nursing.
The profile says Qamar received her nursing degree at Augsburg College and worked as a registered nurse at Fairview Health Services from 2010 to 2013. She then worked at the Hennepin County Medical Center until 2020.
Qamar’s profile says she received her MBA in healthcare management at Concordia University in St. Paul from 2015 to 2017.
She’s been working in her current minister position since April 2020 under her legal name “Ubah Dhiblawe.”