More on the latest Feeding Our Future defendants

The ranks of those charged in the sprawling free-food scandal grew by two this week and now stands at 72.

Five were indicted this week in the $120,000 juror bribery case arising out of the first courtroom trial in the scandal. Three of the five were defendants in the trial, which concluded earlier this month (June),

The two others charged had not been previously accused of any wrongdoing in the scandal.

Abdulkarim Shafii Farah has joined his two brothers, Abdiaziz and Said, in Federal custody. All three Farah brothers are scheduled for hearings in Federal court in Minneapolis on Monday morning, July 1.

Other than the usual traffic violations, Abdulkarim’s only previous significant run-in with authorities arose from a bizarre 2019 incident in Dinkytown. He apparently grabbed a set of expensive headphones from a gal walking down the street near the University of Minnesota’s main campus. In making his escape (in a borrowed vehicle), Farah struck a bicyclist, damaging the bike, but not the rider.

Abdulkarim was convicted of a misdemeanor but sentenced to community service. After serving his time, his conviction was vacated.

Federal court documents indicate that Abdulkarim worked as a food-distribution site supervisor for the nonprofit Somali Community Resettlement Services (SCRS). He also apparently worked for his eldest brother’s food distribution company, Bushra Wholesalers.

His alleged co-conspirator in the bribery case, Laden Mohamed Ali, is billed as being out of Seattle, Washington. However, for the past decade, she has been splitting her time between Washington State and Minnesota.

2015 finds her living in Austin, MN. Three criminal cases arose from her stint there. She was convicted of a petty misdemeanor in a disorderly conduct case. As that case dragged on, Ali missed no fewer than three (3) court hearings.

A second case, for “obstructing the legal process,” was eventually dismissed. In the third 2015 case, Ali pled guilty to a misdemeanor for violating a restraining order. She racked up another failure to appear (4). After fulfilling the terms of her sentence, her conviction was vacated.

The most serious case involved a felony conviction last year for forging a $30,000 check written on another employer, based in Shakopee. Her two-year sentence was stayed, but she was still on probation when indicted in the alleged bribery scheme. That case involved a fifth failure to appear.

Court records indicate that Ali was employed by a different free-food charity back in 2021, Gar Gaar Family Services (GGFS), headquartered in Minneapolis.

Prosecutors tie Ali to the other conspirators through her past work with the food supplier Afro Produce LLC. The company is located in the industrial borderlands between Minneapolis and St. Paul along Route 280.

In the recent fraud case, Afro Produce and its banking records are mentioned in the case’s master exhibit list on four occasions.

Despite this history, Ali was released without bail after her arraignment yesterday in Federal court in St. Paul. The terms of her release required her to surrender her passport and remain in Minnesota. However, no GPS or other tracking device was ordered.

As of yet, no date has been set for Ali’s next court appearance.