No ‘ticket to fly’ for Feeding Our Future guilty plea No. 16

But the globe-trotting adventures of guilty plea No. 13 have been extended for another month.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Minneapolis denied the overseas travel request of Ahmed Sharif Omar-Hashim, Defendant No. 5 and Guilty Plea No. 16 in the free-food scandal.

Omar-Hashim had requested leave for a six-week stint in Kenya and India to begin this month. The judge agreed with the U.S. Attorney that Omar-Hashim’s request should be denied.

On the other hand, the current travel of Yusuf Bashir Ali — Defendant No. 30 and Guilty Plea No. 13 — was extended by an additional month to the end of February. Ali is on his own multi-continent trip to care for an ailing uncle, reportedly on his death bed.

The international travel of many of the Feeding Our Future case defendants has generated much controversy back in Minnesota. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported last month,

In all, 60 people have been charged in the sprawling case. Of the 12 who have asked for permission to travel outside Minnesota, three have been denied.

Make that 13 and 4. Those figures do not include defendants who left the country without permission.

Perhaps the travel would be less controversial if not for the fact that several additional suspects in the case fled the country before they could be indicted.

Still, it’s amazing how many convicted felons, who each owe $millions in forfeitures, have the resources and leisure time to afford multi-week, multi-continent overseas travel.

Trials for remaining defendants are scheduled to begin this year. Trials for two large groups of Feeding Our Future defendants are scheduled to begin this spring. However, a recent flurry of filings in the two cases suggests that those dates may be pushed back.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney seems to be getting serious about forfeitures from one defendant. Forfeiture proceedings were filed this month against Abdulkadir Awale — Defendant No. 56, Guilty Plea No. 10, of “Sambusa King” fame. Awale owes $2.1 million, four vehicles, and two residential properties.

Bon Voyage!