CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sholom Rubashkin, the former CEO of Agriprocessors Inc., was sentenced today to 27 years in federal prison.
Rubashkin, age 50, from Postville, Iowa, received the prison term after Nov. 12, 2009, jury verdicts finding him guilty of 86 counts of financial fraud and related offenses.
Evidence at trial showed Rubashkin inflated Agriprocessors' sales in order to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in loans that were not backed by any collateral. Rubashkin also diverted millions of dollars in customer payments that were supposed to go to Agriprocessors' primary lender. He committed money laundering by running tens of millions of dollars through bank accounts at a Postville grocery store and a religious school. The trial evidence showed Rubashkin was personally involved in harboring hundreds of undocumented worker at Agriprocessors and illegally delaying payments to Agriprocessors' cattle suppliers. He paid for the purchase of fabricated IDs for undocumented workers and personally inspected those documents. Evidence showed Rubashkin's fraud resulted in over $26 million in actual loss to Agriprocessors' lenders.
Over a two-year time period when money was being fraudulently obtained from a lender, Rubashkin funneled about $1.5 million from Agriprocessors' accounts to his personal bank accounts. The money – approximately $663,000 – was used, in part, to pay for his credit card bills, the remodeling of his residence, his personal state and federal income tax, his mortgage payments on his personal residence, jewelry and sterling silver. Additionally, the money was used to pay for $1,245 per month for life insurance, and $365 per month for his car payment.
"Sholom Rubashkin expended enormous efforts to hide his many crimes from the public and law enforcement. On top of that, there have been orchestrated efforts to spread false information intended to elicit sympathy for him. It is a tragedy that many people were misled by this misinformation calculated to distract the public from the truth. The truth came out at trial and sentencing," said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Rose. "No one won anything today as the damage caused by Mr. Rubashkin cannot be fully tallied. However, today the house of cards he constructed finally was brought down. When something is built on lies, it should be no surprise when it collapses under the weight of those lies."
Rubashkin was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. His sentence was based, in part, on his leadership role in the crimes and his efforts to obstruct justice by testifying falsely at his trial. Rubashkin was sentenced to 324 months' imprisonment. Special assessments of $8,600 were imposed, and he was ordered to make $26,852,152.51 in restitution. He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
"This prosecution and lengthy sentence resulted from an extensive two-year ICE worksite enforcement operation and follow-up investigation," said Claude Arnold, Special Agent in Charge for the ICE Office of Investigations overseeing Iowa. "This case serves as a warning to employers that, if you build your business on the backs of an illegal workforce, ICE and other federal resources are there to make you pay the price."
The U.S. Attorney's Office works to ensure victims are made whole as quickly as possible and is seeking the public's assistance in locating or identifying Rubashkin's assets. If anyone has information regarding Rubashkin's assets with a significant value, they are urged to call 319-731-4080.
Rubashkin is being held in the U.S. Marshal's custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.
The investigation began in October 2007 and continued after the execution of search warrants at Agriprocessors on May 12, 2008.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Deegan, C.J. Williams, and Matthew Cole, and the investigation has been led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI. Prior assistance was provided by the U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Postal Inspections Service; Iowa Department of Public Safety; Iowa Department of Transportation; Federal Protective Service; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations; U.S. Department of Labor; Public Health Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Environmental Protection Agency; Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Drug Enforcement Administration; Waterloo Police Department; and Postville Police Department.
Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is CR 08-1324 LRR.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice