Feeding Our Future trial: the endless parade of swag

As we close out another week of the trial in Minneapolis, prosecutors have featured many of the (alleged) ill-gotten gains of the free-food scheme.

A survey of recent headlines:

‘The next multi-millionaires will be you and me’ • Minnesota Reformer. Mentions a $975,000 house in Prior Lake.

Champagne in the Maldives — Sahan Journal.

Jurors in the Feeding Our Future fraud trial were shown pictures Monday of a person popping a champagne bottle at a private beach resort in the Maldives, and images of a Porsche, a Tesla, and a newly built apartment complex in Kenya.

FBI agent shows Feeding Our Future jury cash, gold jewelry, luxury cars seized —Minneapolis Star Tribune

Wads of $64,000 in cash, gold jewelry from Dubai and a brand new Tesla and Porsche.

For their part, the defendants claim that they served “real food to real children.” They say that they are just extremely capable businessmen, earned healthy profit margins (upwards of 90 percent) and chose to spend their excess cash on luxury goods.

Some of the testimony this week centered on the mechanics of moving all that money around, particularly as it was sent overseas. Deena Winter of the MN Reformer posted updates of the testimony on her Twitter (X) account,

Federal Reserve associate managing director Roberto Amenta testifying on international wire transfers made by Feeding Our Future defendants’ LLC to Kenya to build an apartment building and domestic wire transfers to buy homes.

IRS special agent Brian Pitzen is back on the stand in the Feeding Our Future trial, showing jurors fall of 2021 texts with floor plans for a lg. home and apartment building in Kenya, between defendant Abdiaziz Shafii Farah and a Kenyan arranging money transfers to pay for them.

The Star Tribune reports that,

The cars, cash and bank accounts FBI agents got in 2022 are part of more than $66 million the federal government has seized in the case so far.

Amazingly, at the same time the FBI is working with banks and bank regulators to claw back some of the stolen taxpayer money, local Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is pushing legislation to make that effort more difficult. The Hill reports,

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—in a letter sent Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell and other regulatory leaders—argued the anti-money laundering and financial crime prevention policies practiced at the agencies could be disproportionately impacting Muslim Americans.

Those policies, as practiced by Federal agencies, have enabled the recovery of millions of dollars and the conviction of 18 Feeding Our Future defendants, so far.

Unrelated to the Federal trial, and in a “closing the barn door” exercise, state attorney general Keith Ellison has convinced a state judge to close down 17 inactive nonprofits linked to the free-food scandal.

Meanwhile, other Feeding defendants are continuing to travel the globe: Asad Abshir (Defendant No. 11) will be spending the next month in Ankara, Turkey. This will be Abshir’s fourth trip to Turkey since his indictment. Hoda Abdi (Defendant No. 70, Guilty Plea No. 18) will be leaving for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this weekend for a two-week stay.

Moving in the other direction, Fadumo Yusuf (Defendant No. 68) is negotiating her return to the United States.

Leaving on a jet plane.