NEW YORK — The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced on Sept. 24 that two Brooklyn meat wholesalers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud by using counterfeit US Department of Agriculture (USDA) stamps.
Howard Mora and Alan Buxbaum sold misbranded USDA “Choice” beef products as higher quality USDA “Prime.” The two also sold those products at inflated prices.
The defendants face up to 20 years in prison each and criminal forfeiture of $250,000.
In the indictment in 2019, Mora and Buxbaum told employees to remove the “Choice” marking and stamp them with the “Prime” counterfeit mark.
Seth D. DuCharme, acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Bethanne M. Dinkins, special agent-in-charge for the USDA of Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG), announced the guilty pleas.
“Mora and Buxbaum rang up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent profits by charging customers more than the defendants’ products were worth, and now they will pay a price for their avarice,” DuCharmes said.
The two men were co-owners of Brooklyn-based A. Stein Meat Products Inc., a wholesale meat processing and distribution business before the business defaulted on its debts in October 2014.