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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Former Midamar Operations Manager Pleads Guilty

Contact: Steve Young

Philip G. Payne, 50, of Ryan, Iowa, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to make and deliver false certificates and writings. Prosecution would be deferred on two additional counts pursuant to an agreement yet to be approved by the court. Payne entered his plea of guilty in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.

According to facts admitted by Payne today, between about April 2007 and December 2009, employees of Midamar Corporation of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, knowingly and without authorization, removed USDA marks of inspection from meat products and replaced them with marks of inspection from facilities other than where the meat was slaughtered. This was done at the direction, and with the knowledge and approval, of Midamar’s owners and managers. Further, false USDA export documents, health certificates, and Halal export certificates were generated for at least 22 shipments of beef during the same period. These and other actions were taken with the intent to make the beef eligible for import into countries that would otherwise not have accepted the beef shipments.

Payne, the former Operations Manager for Midamar also admitted as part of his plea agreement that, as demand for Halal beef supplied by Midamar grew, Midamar supplemented its sales of purported Halal beef with kosher beef slaughtered by rabbis, without any participation or oversight by a Muslim slaughterman.

Payne could be sentenced up to one year imprisonment and fined up to $100,000. A term of supervised release of up to one year could be ordered following any term of imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard L. Murphy and Timothy Vavricek, and was investigated by the Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service.

Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is 14-CR-00143-LRR. ph Two.

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Updated February 19, 2015