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Press Release

Petaluma Cattle Owner And Slaughterhouse Employee Sentenced For Scheme To Distribute Adulterated Meat

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – Robert Singleton, owner of Petaluma-based cattle company Rancho Veal Corporation, and Eugene Corda, an employee of the now-defunct Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma slaughterhouse, were sentenced today for their roles in a scheme to distribute adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Special Agent in Charge of the Western Region of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of Inspector General, Investigations, Lori Chan. 

Singleton, 79, of Petaluma, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer to three months’ imprisonment, to be followed by one year of supervised release, conditions of which include three months of home confinement and fifty hours of community service.  Singleton was charged in a one-count information on August 18, 2014, with distribution of adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat, in violation of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), 21 U.S.C. §§ 610(c) & 676(a).  He pleaded guilty to the information on August 22, 2014, as part of a cooperation plea agreement, admitting his participation in a scheme to distribute condemned cattle and uninspected cattle showing signs of “cancer eye.”  He also admitted his participation in a separate false invoicing scheme.  Singleton’s sentence was a result of the United States’ motion for downward departure based on his cooperation, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1.  A restitution hearing is set for May 31, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., also before Judge Breyer, with a self-surrender deadline of the same date.

Corda, 65, of Petaluma, was sentenced by Judge Breyer to three years’ probation, including six months of home detention.  Corda was indicted along with Rancho Feeding’s owner Jesse Amaral, 78, of Petaluma, and Rancho Feeding employee Felix Cabrera, 56, of Santa Rosa, for distribution of adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat, in violation of the FMIA, 21 U.S.C. §§ 610(c) & 676(a); conspiracy to commit the same, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. On October 10, 2014, Corda pleaded guilty to one count of violating the FMIA, admitting that he knowingly switched uninspected cancer eye cattle with inspected, healthy cattle as part of a scheme to circumvent USDA inspection procedures.  His sentence also reflected a downward departure as a result of cooperating with the government’s investigation. 

For his role in the scheme, Amaral was sentenced on February 10, 2016, to one year and one day imprisonment and two years of supervised release, one of which will be served in a residential re-entry facility. 

The sentencing hearing for Cabrera is set for March 9, 2016, also before Judge Breyer. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hartley M.K. West is prosecuting this case with the assistance of Rosario Calderon and Bridget Kilkenny.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by agents of the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, Investigations and USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit, Compliance and Investigations. 

Updated April 19, 2017

Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud