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USA - Stiff penalties for Kosher plant executives

03 Jun 2010

Two top officials of Agriprocessors Inc. were sentenced to prison Wednesday for their roles in the immigration and bank fraud scandal at the eastern Iowa meat plant.
 
Mitch Meltzer, 50, of Postville was sentenced to 41-months in prison after his conviction on a federal conspiracy charge.
 
Meltzer, the plant's former head accountant, admitted that he conspired with others to make false statements to a bank. The fraud allowed managers to collect larger loan advances than they should have received.
Prosecutors say the plant's lenders lost $26.9 million after a May 2008 immigration raid that caused Agriprocessors to default on its loans. Meltzer admitted that he signed false financial records that were used to mislead the banks.
 
In addition to the prison term, Meltzer was ordered to repay the $26.9 million in restitution.
 
Brent Beebe, a beef department manager, was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison. He had been convicted of conspiring to commit document fraud.
 
Beebe, 53, of Postville helped 19 illegal immigrant workers secure false work papers the week before federal agents raided the slaughterhouse, according to federal court documents.
 
Beebe obtained $4,500 in cash from former Agriprocessors Vice President Sholom Rubashkin to pay for the fake documents, prosecutors said.
 
Meltzer and Beebe are the ninth and 10th Agriprocessors employees convicted of federal charges. The federal investigation began in October 2007.
 
Both men must report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, but dates have not been set.
 
Only two defendants in the case - Hosam Amara and Zeev Levi - have not yet been prosecuted, the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement. Both men remain at large. Prosecutors have said they believe the men are hiding in Israel.
 
Rubashkin, who managed the plant's day-to-day operations, was convicted in November of 86 federal charges tied to the bank fraud case. His sentencing is set for June 22 in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.
 
Rubashkin is on trial for 83 alleged child labor violations at the plant, in an unrelated state case brought by the Iowa attorney general's office.
 

Source: desmoineregister

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