Jalel Aossey, age 41, and his brother Yahya Nasser Aossey, age 46, both of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the former co-owners of Midamar Corporation (Midamar) and ISA, Inc. (d/b/a Islamic Services of America, Inc.), were sentenced in federal district court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, today for their roles in a scheme to defraud customers and consumers of meat products sold by Midamar and certified by ISA as meeting certain international halal standards. The corporate entities owned by the Aosseys, and previously by their father, William B. Aossey, who founded the businesses, were sentenced in related cases on February 25, 2016.
Jalel Aossey, former president of Midamar, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit the following federal offenses: mail and wire fraud; covering up material facts by a scheme; making and using false statements and documents in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture; making false statements on export certificates with the intent to defraud; and selling misbranded meat in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud.
Jalel Aossey was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. He was sentenced to serve 12 months and one day imprisonment and fined $30,000. In addition, he was ordered to pay a special assessment of $100. Aossey will be required to serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term and to comply with the terms of a separate consent decree entered into with the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. As part of that agreement and his plea agreement, Aossey was required to divest his interest in Midamar and to no longer be associated with the management or operations of Midamar.
Yahya Aossey previously pleaded guilty as a responsible corporate officer to two counts of selling, transporting, and offering for sale and transportation in commerce, meat and meat food products that were misbranded at the time of sale or transportation. As part of a plea agreement, prosecution on a conspiracy charge was deferred for a period of five years, subject to compliance with the terms of a pretrial diversion agreement.
Yahya Aossey was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. He was sentenced to serve a three year term of probation and fined $5,000. In addition, he was ordered to pay a special assessment of $50. As part of his conditions of probation, Aossey was ordered to comply with the terms of a separate consent decree entered into with the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. As part of the consent decree and his plea agreement, Aossey will be permitted to continue as the owner and operator of Midamar. The consent decree also imposes several requirements on Midamar regarding corrective actions to guard against future violations.
William B. Aossey was previously sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. He was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment and fined $60,000. Aossey was also ordered to forfeit $184,983 representing proceeds of the fraud. In addition, he was ordered to pay costs of prosecution of $16,824 and a special assessment of $1,500.
Midamar was previously sentenced to pay a fine of $20,000 and ordered to forfeit $600,000. Midamar was also placed on probation for five years. As a special condition of probation, Midamar will be required to abide by all terms of a consent decree entered into with the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. The consent decree requires Midamar to take a variety of corrective actions and to remove certain corporate officials, including Jalel Aossey and William B. Aossey, from the business. Midamar was also ordered to pay a special assessment of $400.
ISA was previously sentenced to pay a fine $60,000 and ordered to pay a special assessment of $400. ISA was also ordered to forfeit $600,000. The forfeiture judgment was ordered joint and several with Midamar. ISA must also abide by a 5 year term of probation.
“The United States Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, is dedicated to curbing business fraud wherever it’s found,” said United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau following sentencing. “The public has a right to expect that domestic food products will be properly labeled and distributed in accordance with law. That was not done in this case. We will continue to pursue those who lie, cheat and steal from the public.”
“IRS Criminal Investigations is committed to unraveling complex financial transactions and schemes of this nature to assist our law enforcement partners,” said Karl Stiften, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigations. “The proceeds of illegal activity are used as fuel to continue their criminal conduct.”
Special Agent-in-Charge, Anthony Mohatt, USDA, Office of Inspector General Investigations, Midwest Region stated: “We greatly appreciate the efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office, and our investigative partners who worked tirelessly to bring to justice the corporations and individuals who engaged in a blatant, long-term pattern of activities designed to circumvent USDA regulations for financial gain. The results of this investigation highlight our agencies goal to strengthen USDA’s ability to implement and improve safety and security measures to protect the public health.”
The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard L. Murphy and Timothy L. Vavricek and investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General Investigations and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations.
Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file numbers are: 14-CR-00138-LRR (Jalel and Yahya Aossey); 14-CR-00116-LRR (William B. Aossey, Jr.); 14-CR-00138-LRR (Midamar & ISA).
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