To continue reading this article and others for free, please sign up for our newsletter.
Sahan Journal publishes deep, reported news for and with immigrants and communities of color—the kind of stories you won’t find anywhere else.
Unlock our in-depth reporting by signing up for our free newsletter.
Support local nonprofit journalism that works for you.
Our community-based reporting is made possible by readers just like you. Become a supporter of your local nonprofit news organization today with a tax-deductible donation so we can continue doing the reporting that matters to you.
1/ Two defendants from Minnesota are currently out of the country.
- Fahad Nur, 38, Minneapolis, principal of The Produce LLC.
- Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh, 39, Burnsville, an employee of Feeding Our Future.
2/ Most of the 48 suspects are not in jail.
Not all 48 defendants have turned themselves in or have been arrested.
As of Wednesday evening, seven defendants were being held in a local county jail. That number could change as more defendants continue to appear in court in the following days; a judge could decide to release them.
Several defendants, including Aimee Bock, turned themselves into the U.S. Marshal’s on Tuesday, made their first appearance in court that day, and were released afterwards with the understanding that they would make all future court appearances.
3/ Money was spent on properties in at least three different states–Minnesota, Kentucky, and Ohio.
The following are a small sampling of the purchases: Qamar Hassan, Sahra Nur, and Abdiwahab Mohamud allegedly used $2,395,966 to buy a commercial building at 301-309 East Lake Street in Minneapolis. The three also allegedly used $70,000 to buy an adjacent commercial building.
Haji Salad allegedly bought a $2.5 million parcel of land in Lakeville.
Salim Said, Abdulkadir Salah, and Abdirahman Ahmed bought a commercial building in Columbus, Ohio, for $2.4 million.
4/ Money was spent on real estate in at least three different countries–the United States, Kenya, and Turkey.
One example: Ayan Jama allegedly used $356,795 in food-aid money towards the purchase of a summer home in Alanya, Turkey, a resort town on the Mediterranean coast.
5/ Money was spent on a variety of luxury goods, including a Tesla.
Defendants allegedly purchased several cars including a Porsche Macan and Tesla Model Y, miscellaneous electrical devices, jewelry, clothing, a Louis Vuitton duffle bag, accessories, and a Sea Ray 185 Sport boat.
They also allegedly spent money to travel to international destinations such as Dubai, Kenya, and Turkey.
6/ One defendant was booked into jail on September 20–the same day she allegedly planned to leave the United States on a one-way ticket to Ethiopia.
FBI agents learned on Saturday, September 17, that Mekfira Hussein allegedly booked a one-way ticket from the United States to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her flight was scheduled to leave at 6:32 p.m. on September 20–the same day the U.S Attorney’s Office announced charges in the food-aid investigation.
She appeared in court Thursday and was released from custody after her attorney and the prosecution agreed that she would surrender her passport to authorities.
7/ Defendants reported serving exceedingly large numbers of meals.
Haji Salad claimed that Haji’s Kitchen provided more than 15.7 million meals in Minnesota from June 2020 to March 2022. He claimed to have supplied $293,300 worth of food for 140,000 meals in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, over a 16-day period in October 2021. There are 2,500 people living in Pelican Rapids.
Mahad Ibrahim and his alleged co-conspirators allegedly claimed to serve meals to more than 25,000 children a day in 2021. In return, they received about $22 million.
8/ The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed 10 different charging documents totaling 257 pages.
Federal prosecutors filed 10 different charging documents covering 48 defendants. In all, the documents totaled 257 pages worth of allegations.
UPDATE (October 3, 2022): On September 29, MPR News reported that defendant Abidwahab Aftin had returned to the U.S. after being out of the country when the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges against him.