Another batch of indictments in the Feeding Our Future case

We are now up to 70 defendants in the free-food program scandal. The always alert Lou Raguse of KARE 11 was out with a story this afternoon.

The U.S. Attorney for Minnesota announced another batch of defendants in the Feeding Our Future case today.

We already reported on one name over this past weekend. Hoda Ali Abdi was charged last week, and Raguse reports that she is expected to enter a guilty plea this April.

In the meantime, two other names jump out. Said Ereg and Najmo Ahmed are a husband-and-wife team operating the Evergreen Grocery and Deli located in south Minneapolis. I had the opportunity to visit the establishment back in July of last year.

The couple are accused of taking $4.2 million out of the free-food program. We had mentioned the Evergreen name twice before in our reporting, in March 2022 and in Sept. 2022.

As we noted before, the state Department of Education (MDE), which oversees the Federal free-food programs in Minnesota, rejected Evergreen’s original application to participate back in April 2020. Evergreen’s application was one of eight denied by MDE at that time. Of the eight, two declined to move forward. Of the six that were later approved, all six were the subjects of indictments in the case.

Later, in October 2020, MDE unilaterally booted Evergreen from the program.

In both instances, MDE backed down under threats of litigation. But here we are, more than $4 million later.

The indictment in the Evergreen case includes the usual swag; Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Canada Goose (p. 7, paragraph g). A residence in New Hope is subject to forfeiture. $millions were shipped overseas.

The remaining names in this latest batch of defendants are all related. Ikram Yusuf Mohamed is accused of being a Feeding Our Future employee/consultant and headlines a separate indictment of seven individuals, including five of her immediate family members.

Ikram Mohamed, under the initials “I.M.” appears to be the person referenced in an earlier indictment (p. 9, paragraph 30) of the Empire Cuisine group of defendants.

The latest indictment (p. 20, paragraph 73.b and p. 23, paragraphs 87-90) links the Ikram Mohamed group to Defendant No. 21 in the case, Mukhtar Shariff of Bloomington’s Afrique Hospitality Group. In addition, another defendant group, S&S Catering, is mentioned (paragraph 73.c.).

Combined, the Ikram Mohamed group appears to have taken at least $12 million out of the free-food program (p. 25, para. 91).

Not mentioned in the indictment is a Minneapolis daycare operation associated with the name Ikram Yusuf Mohamed. This daycare was separately enrolled in the free-food program and received payments from the state Dept. of Education exceeding $400,000 during the period 2017-2022.

Another defendant, Gandi Yusuf Mohamed of Woodbury (Ikram’s brother), appears to be the same owner by that name of a Lake Street-headquartered personal care assistance (PCA) business. Gandi’s PCA business has received payments from the state Dept. of Human Services exceeding $31 million over the past five years. In 2023, Gandi legally changed his name to Gandi Abdi Kediye. Gandi’s wife (not indicted) also operates a DHS-funded facility, which has received $3.7 million in state funding since 2020.

The seven names included in this indictment accumulated the usual list of swag (p. 35). The list features automobiles (cargo van, Land Rover, Yukon) and properties.

The indictment lists the many shell companies allegedly created by the defendants.

Here are few of the company names mentioned: Active Mind’s Youth, Inspiring Youth and Out Reach, United Youth of MPLS, and Youth International Club. Two of these names were mentioned in a piece I wrote back in April 2022.

The name Ikram Yusuf Mohamed, age 41 of Minneapolis, matches a $500 donor to the campaign of state Sen. Omar Fatah (DFL-Minneapolis) in 2021.

The same donor gave the maximum $1,000 in 2022 to an unsuccessful DFL candidate for a state senate seat in Maple Grove. Ikram’s brother Gandi also appears to have given this same candidate the maximum amount in 2021. Gandi’s wife (not indicted) donated $500 in 2020 to a state representative Mohamud Noor (DFL-Minneapolis).

Gandi gave $500 to the DFL House Caucus in October 2020, listing his then-current Minneapolis home address.

Ikram Mohamed also gave the maximum $600 donation to Minneapolis city council member Jeremiah Ellison (son of the state attorney general, Keith Ellison) in 2021. I wrote about that December 20, 2021, fundraiser here. It featured no fewer than eight (8) future indictees, including Ikram Mohamed’s husband, Shakur Abdisalam. That same day, her brother Gandi gave Keith Ellison a maximum contribution of $2,500 and Jeremiah the maximum $600.

Gandi’s wife (not indicted) also appears to have given the younger Ellison $600 on that same day. (The unindicted spouse of Defendant No. 41 (not listed above) also gave $600 to J. Ellison).

To close the circle, Abdisalam also gave the maximum $1,000 to Fateh in 2021.