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Charlie Neibergall
Agriprocessors Inc. kosher meatpacking plant, Postville, Iowa.

Agriprocessors Manager Arrested in Deepening Kosher Meat Scandal

October 30, 2008 03:52 PM
by Isabel Cowles
The former plant manager of Agriprocessors, Inc., the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant, has been arrested on federal conspiracy charges.

Former Plant Manager of Kosher Meatpacking Plant Arrested

U.S. Customs and Immigration officials have arrested Sholom Rubashkin, the former plant manager of the nation's largest kosher meatpacking plant, Agriprocessors, Inc., on "federal conspiracy charges of harboring illegal immigrants and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft," reports CNN.

Those charges stem from a massive raid of the plant by federal immigration authorities in May that resulted in the arrests of hundreds of illegal immigrant workers, at least 30 of whom were minors. The Postville, Iowa-based company, its practices and the process by which businesses are certified as kosher, were thrust into the national spotlight.

Rubashkin, along with his father, Agriprocessors owner Aaron Rubashkin, as well as others of the company’s top managers, were previously charged on Sept. 17 with more than 9,000 misdemeanor child labor law violations. All of the defendants pled “not guilty” to the charges via written pleas.

Also on Sept. 17, two human resources managers were indicted by a grand jury for aiding and abetting document fraud and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.

Agriprocessors Fined Almost $10 Million

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, October 29, the state of Iowa fined Agriprocessors, Inc., nearly $10 million for violating labor laws.

The state spent several months investigating allegations that the plant underpaid employees, hired illegal aliens and falsified worker documents from January 2006 to June 2008. The state’s labor agency, Iowa Workforce Development, analyzed company documents like time sheets, wage stubs and payroll information to determine the degree of labor violation, according to agency representative Kerry Koonce.
The Associated Press reports that  “The civil penalties totaled $9.99 million, including $339,700 for the illegal deduction of ‘sales tax/miscellaneous’ costs nearly 3,400 times; $9.6 million for illegally deducting money from 2,001 employees for protective clothing more than 96,000 times; and for failing to pay 42 employees their last paychecks following the raid by immigration agents.”

Reference: Kosher standards, Agriprocessors updates


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