Former Agriprocessors staffers sentenced

by Bryan Salvage
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CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — Mitch Meltzer, 50, the former chief accountant of Agriprocessors Inc.'s Postville plant, was sentenced to more than three years in prison on May 26 by a federal judge in Cedar Rapids for conspiring to make false statements to a bank, according to The Associated Press.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda Reade, who handed down the 41-month sentence, also ordered him to make restitution to the banks that were victimized by the fraud.

Mr. Meltzer pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements and reports to a bank at a hearing held Sept. 28. The AP reports he admitted conspiring with others to make the false statements in connection with requests for advances on a revolving loan. Mr. Meltzer said he signed a document that overstated the value of Agriprocessors' collateral.

Meanwhile, a former beef department manager, Brent Beebe, 53, was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison. He had been convicted of conspiring to commit document fraud, according to the DesMoines Register. Mr. Meltzer and Mr. Beebe are the ninth and 10th Agriprocessors employees convicted of federal charges. The federal investigation began in October 2007.

Sholom Rubashkin, former Agriprocessors vice-president who managed the plant's daily operations, was convicted in November of federal charges tied to bank fraud. His sentencing is set for June 22 in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. In an unrelated state case brought by the Iowa attorney general's office, Mr. Rubashkin is also on trial for alleged child labor violations at the plant.
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