A federal judge will allow one of the defendants who pleaded guilty in the $250 million Feeding Our Future scandal to travel to Kenya for 30 days despite the objections of prosecutors.
Liban Yasin Alishire, 43, pleaded guilty in January to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering while admitting that he defrauded the federal government’s Child Nutrition Programs of over $2 million under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future.
Alishire personally obtained $712,000 in fraudulent reimbursements from the government and used that money to purchase a boat, a Ford F150 pickup truck, an apartment in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Karibu Palms Resort along the Indian Ocean in Kenya, according to federal prosecutors.
Now, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy E. Brasel has partially granted Alishire’s request to travel to Kenya so he can “assist in the sale of his Kenyan properties,” according to a court document filed Wednesday.
“The sale will help with his forfeiture and restitution obligations,” Brasel noted. KARE 11 first reported on Brasel’s decision.
Alishire’s attorney asked Brasel for a 60-day travel period, but the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office expressed support for a 30-day trip instead, she said in her order.
Brasel acknowledged that prosecutors opposed Alishire’s request because “there are no conditions to ensure [his] return to the United States to face sentencing,” they argued.
“The Government believes his family ties and prospect of facing a lengthy sentence give him motive to flee,” Brasel wrote. Alishire faces up to 51 months in prison.
At least one of the defendants in the case was arrested while trying to flee the country on a one-way ticket to Ethiopia.
Alishire will be required to provide his probation officer with “full trip details beforehand” and maintain contact with his attorney. However, he will not be under the supervision of the Probation and Pretrial Services Office while residing in Kenya.
He will be required to hand over his passport within 24 hours of returning to Minnesota — if he does return.