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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Two Defendants Charged in Scheme to Sell Fraudulently Misbranded Beef Products

Defendants Allegedly Used Counterfeit USDA Stamps

An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Howard Mora and Alan Buxbaum with conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to use counterfeit United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stamps to misbrand USDA “Choice” beef products as higher quality USDA “Prime” and sell those products at inflated prices.  The defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Bethanne M. Dinkins, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG), announced the charge.

Between September 2011 and October 2014, Mora and Buxbaum were co-owners of A. Stein Meat Products, Inc., a wholesale meat processing and distribution business located in Brooklyn.  As alleged in the indictment, the defendants purchased beef that had been graded “Choice” quality by graders employed by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and directed their employees to carve off the “Choice” markings and re-stamp them as “Prime,” using counterfeit stamps.  The meat was then sold at inflated prices to customers in the New York City metropolitan area.    

“Customers and consumers are entitled to get what they pay for, especially when the product is food on their tables,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “This Office and our law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in enforcing laws that ensure the grade and quality of food products.” 

“The integrity of USDA’s food processing systems and the security of the nation’s food supply is of the utmost importance to the Office of Inspector General, and we will continue to dedicate resources to the investigation of matters where it is called into question.” Stated USDA-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Dinkins.

The charge in the indictment is an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan Harris and Turner Buford are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

HOWARD MORA
Age: 67
Westbury, New York

ALAN BUXBAUM
Age:  65
Monroe, New Jersey

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-425 (KAM)

Topic(s): 
Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
John Marzulli United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated September 24, 2019