Manager of Kosher Slaughterhouse Found Guilty on 86 Charges of Fraud

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Sioux Falls, SD—A former kosher slaughterhouse manager has been convicted on all but five of nearly 100 felony fraud charges, including bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, making false statements to a bank and money laundering.

The charges stemmed from a bank fraud scheme at a meat plant, Agriprocessors, Inc., located in Postville, Iowa. Sholom Rubashkin is the latest in six convictions for high-ranking Agriprocessors executives. The others, including two financial officers, a director of human resources and two line managers, testified against Rubashkin in exchange for plea deals.

Rubashkin had been offered a plea deal as well, but had rejected it, claiming that he was innocent. Although friends and supporters had encouraged him to take the deal, which would have included some time in prison, Rubashkin insisted that he had done nothing wrong and cited “moral problems” with taking the plea deal.

During the trial, prosecutors alleged that Rubashkin had falsified sales records, using bogus invoices and shipping papers, to create an illusion of sales which, in fact, had never occurred. He was then able to borrow more out of a $35 million credit line from the plant’s St. Louis bank.

He also diverted customer payments into the wrong bank account, instead of to the lender, in order to use that money for personal and plant expenses.

In addition to the 86 charges of felony fraud on which Rubashkin was convicted, he was also convicted on 15 of 20 charges that he ignored an order to pay livestock providers within the 24 hours required by law.

Rubashkin was placed by U.S. District Judge Linda Reade immediately into custody, because of concerns that he might flee the country. Although there is no word yet on the sentence, it is expected to be “lengthy,” according to federal prosecutors.

The trial, which lasted for nearly a month, had to be moved to South Dakota because of intense media and public scrutiny in Iowa. The jurors deliberated for over two days before returning their verdict.

Rubashkin also faces 72 federal charges related to immigration matters, as well as state allegations that he violated child labor laws. He will stand trial on these charges in Sioux Falls beginning on December 2. His lawyers plan to appeal the recent conviction, as well as to push for Rubashkin’s release on bail pending the federal immigration trial.

Rubashkin was the former vice president at Agriprocessors Inc., a business that had been started by his father Aaron Rubashkin.

 

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