SNAP, COVID assistance fraud leads to prison for St. Cloud man

A St. Cloud grocery store owner will spend more than two years in prison and be required to pay back more than $4 million for his role in scheming to exchange SNAP and COVID-19 government benefits for personal expenses.

Hared Nur Jibril, 60, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4.1 million in restitution for wire fraud.

According to court documents, from 2009 through 2021 Jibril owned and operated Hormud Meat and Grocery Market in St. Cloud. 

In 2009, he completed the application and agreement and signed the required certifications to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with states. The market was also authorized as a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) vendor.

However, according to charges, from 2018 through 2021 Jibril and other employees of Hormud Market devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the USDA by exchanging SNAP and WIC benefits for cash and other ineligible items including, phone minutes, personal care products and prepared food from Jibril’s adjoining restaurant. 

In total, the scheme resulted in a loss amount of more than $4.1 million to the SNAP and WIC programs.

Then during the spring and summer of 2020, Jibril applied to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for unemployment benefits, falsely claiming that he had been laid off from work due to COVID-19, despite his continued self-employment at the market he owned. In total, he received more than $32,724 in unemployment assistance from DEED.

On December 1, 2021, Jabril pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.