At the request of the U.S. Justice Department, judges have delayed sentencing dates for three former officials of the bankrupt Adams Produce Co. who pleaded guilty to defrauding the government.

In motions for the delays the Justice Department said it wants to ensure the men’s cooperation in preparing for a criminal trial of one of their former co-workers.

The former Adams Produce officials who negotiated plea agreements in relation to the scheme include purchasing director David Kirkland, purchasing program specialist Christopher Pfahl and Stanley Butler II, who was a purchasing agent for the Birmingham, Ala.-based company.

All three men are cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Birmingham in its ongoing investigation into the fraud scheme that caused the government to overpay for fresh produce for the military and public schools.

Federal judges handling their cases delayed sentencing dates set for this month and January 2014 until March and April to ensure their continued cooperation in the prosecution of Michael O’Brien, former general manager of the Adams Produce distribution center in Pensacola, Fla.

O’Brien’s trial is set to begin Feb. 18. He faces a 37-grand jury indictment.

In a related case against Scott Grinstead, former chief executive officer at Adams Produce, a federal judge granted a request that he be allowed to serve his 16-month prison term in a federal minimum security prison camp in Pensacola, Fla., instead of the originally recommended facility.

Grinstead negotiated a plea agreement and admitted to not reporting the fraud scheme when he became aware of it, wire fraud and not filing personal income tax returns for two years.

Grinstead requested the Pensacola prison camp citing his close relationship with his daughter. Grinstead is under court order to surrender Jan. 9 to begin serving his time.