A second arrest is made in the Feeding Our Future scandal

And, once again, it involves passport fraud. To date, not one person has been arrested or charged in the underlying Feeding Our Future fraud case.

A second figure in the Feeding Our Future scandal has been arrested by the FBI. Abdiaziz Farah turned himself in to authorities on May 23, avoiding the dramatic scene of his business partner who was arrested on a jetway at the Minneapolis airport attempting to board an overseas flight.

Farah and Mohamed Jama Ismail are co-owners of the Empire Cuisine restaurant of Shakopee. We catalogued their involvement in the case in this post.

Both men figure prominently in FBI search warrant No. 3 in the case. Their respective homes were searched by the FBI back in January (subject premises Nos. 2 and 3). At that time the FBI seized their passports.

Both men applied for replacement passports, claiming their originals were “lost.” Both men received replacements from the U.S. State Department. Both men purchased plane tickets to Kenya, where they own property, allegedly purchased with the ill-gotten gains of the free-food scandal.

From there the details vary. Ismail bought a roundtrip ticket, Farah a one-way. Ismail checked in five suitcases for his flight, Farah was a no-show for his. Ismail was arrested on a jetway, Farah turned himself in.

The Sahan Journal reports that both men are being held at the Sherburne County Jail, as obvious flight risks.

Until the FBI raids were made public in January, Farah served as the founder and executive director of the Gateway STEM Academy public charter school in Burnsville, at which point he had to step aside.

As it happens, the school itself participates in the federal free-food programs. In Farah’s absence, the school has been approved for participation again in summer 2022 for the Summer Food Service Program. Capacity for the school’s offering is registered at 250 children.

Unlike last summer, Gateway appears to no longer offer itself as a public food distribution site for 650 children. Farah continues to be listed as the school’s contact person in the state Department of Education database.

Since its founding in the fall of 2018, Gateway has taken in more than $12 million in state money. The free-food component has been an ever-growing share of the total.

As for the restaurant itself, both Google and the FBI report that Empire Cuisine is open for business.