First Feeding Our Future trial to begin this month

The original indictment in the Empire case, filed in September 2022, accuses the group of taking $40 million out of the free-food programs.

Empire Cuisine and Market in Shakopee (Bill Glahn/Center of the American Experiment)

(Center of the American Experiment) — April 22 is set as the start date for a federal trial involving eight defendants associated with the Empire Cuisine group. The defendants are Nos. 15 to 22 (out of 70) in the sprawling case, but do not include the former Feeding Our Future CEO, Aimee Bock (No. 1).

This, the first trial involving Feeding defendants, is scheduled to last until at least May 17, according to federal court filings. A pre-trial conference for the case will take place Monday, April 8. All have pleaded not guilty.

So far, the overall case has produced 17 convictions through guilty pleas, with an 18th scheduled to be entered on April 10. So far, none of the guilty pleas have come from the Empire Cuisine group.

This branch of the scandal centers around a now-defunct restaurant located in Shakopee.

The Empire group was the subject of one of the first search warrants unsealed in the case, executed back in January 2022. Two of the defendants were arrested as they allegedly tried to flee the county. Six of the defendants in this group have past ties to a Burnsville charter school.

Our past coverage of this group can be found at this link.

The original indictment in the Empire case, filed in September 2022, accuses the group of taking $40 million out of the free-food programs. A more recent filing by the U.S. Attorney in the case mentions a higher number, $49 million.

In addition to Feeding Our Future, the case involves a separate nonprofit, identified in the indictment as “Sponsor A,” now known to be the since-closed Partners in Nutrition (d/b/a Partners in Quality Care). The case mentions an unindicted co-conspirator, identified in the indictment under the initials “J.S.” “J.S.” is now known to be Julius Scarver, a former Partners’ board member. Scarver has not been charged in the case.

The case mentions a second unindicted co-conspirator, identified under the initials “I.M.” “I.M.” is now known to be Ikram Mohamed, a former Feeding employee, who has been indicted as Defendant No. 63.

Her separate indictment, handed down in January 2024, includes six co-defendants. That group is not scheduled for trial before July, and the trial is not likely to occur this year.

The trial for the initial group of defendants, including Bock, is not scheduled to begin until June, and may be pushed back to autumn.

I’m told that jury summons for the Empire case have already gone out. It will be a large and complex case for jurors to consider.

Prosecutors have filed a list of potential exhibits in the case that runs 119 pages, single-spaced. Those aren’t the exhibits themselves, merely the index to the exhibits. Scarver’s name appears on the exhibit list 32 times. Mohamed’s name appears on the exhibit list nine times.

The exhibit list mentions the eight defendants on trial this month, but also mentions by name six other defendants who won’t be on trial at this time.

Reportedly, the prosecutors’ list of potential witnesses who may be called runs to 200 names.

There is lots of swag said to have been purchased by Empire defendants with their alleged proceeds from the case. My new favorite is this higher-education-related purchase by Defendant No. 18:

“Specifically, he paid $12,000 from his shell company, Nur Consulting, to a company called, which agreed to take his courses for him, including all homework assignments and exams, with a guaranteed A or B in each course. Abdimajid Nur paid the company approximately $5,000 to take all his Fall 2021 courses for him. In January 2022, he paid another $6,000 to have the company take all his Spring 2022 semester courses.”

A gentleman and a scholar.


Bill Glahn

Bill Glahn is an Adjunct Policy Fellow with Center of the American Experiment.