Two men charged in meat-theft scam

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OMAHA – The US Attorney's office in Nebraska charged two men, both residents of Miami, Fla., for their alleged involvement in a scheme to steal more than $330,000 worth of meat products from processing facilities in Omaha, Neb.

In May, a federal grand jury indicted Jose Gonzalo-Paulette and Guillermo Riol on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

The indictment alleges that Gonzalo-Paulette and Riol allegedly conspired with others in a plot to steal loads of meat cargo by using the identities of truck drivers from Pennsylvania and posing as representatives of US Road Corporation, a legitimate trucking company, to bid on hauling beef products from Nebraska Beef and a load of pork products from Quality Pork International.

The men were given two loads of beef from Nebraska Beef valued at $308,797 and a load of pork from Quality Pork International worth approximately $25,000, according to the indictment. The meat never made it to the intended destinations — the beef to New York and the pork to Texas.

Gonzalo-Paulette and Riol were arrested in Florida. Their initial federal court appearances are scheduled for July 3. The two men each face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges; five years if convicted of conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce and a mandatory two years to be served consecutively for each of the aggravated identity theft counts.

The US Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, the Miami Metropolitan Major Theft Task Force, the Polk County Florida Sheriff's Office, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Omaha Police Department investigated the case.
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