Jalel and Bill Jr. “Yahya” Aossey, directors of Midamar Corp, and its sister company, Islamic Services of America, have pleaded not guilty to 92 federal charges, related to misbranding Halal beef. Midamar is alleged to have sold at least $4.9 million in beef that did not follow the halal practices promised in its labeling and advertising, reports the New York Times. The brothers are charged with 91 other counts of making false statements on export certificates, wire fraud and money laundering. Their father and Midamar founder, William Aossey Sr., was indicted on 19 counts in October.
Midamar has issued a statement on its website defending itself from the charges. The statement reads:
“Midamar Corporation was informed last week of the federal indictment against the company and its directors. The company is unable to comment on specific charges.
Midamar operates in a heavily regulated industry and strives to meet all regulatory legal obligations. In fact, Midamar stands proud of its compliance record over the past 40 years. This indictment is based in large part on administrative infractions that occurred in 2010 involving facility numbers. Normally these matters are resolved between the regulatory agency and the company. Midamar took corrective action 4 years ago, this action was accepted by the USDA and the company directors believed at that time that the matter was resolved. Midamar will continue to work in good faith with the government and make every attempt towards a quick resolution.
Midamar’s supply of quality USDA approved food products to international and domestic consumers will continue without interruption. All operations and functions of the company will continue as normal. As a supplier of Halal foods the products are certified by reputable certification agencies. Midamar slaughter methods have been vetted by domestic and international halal auditors over 40 years and the company continues to maintain its high level of halal integrity.
The allegations of Halal fraud are due to an ‘one size fits all’ approach taken by the government authorities. These charges by the federal attorney’s office are in violation of the first amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees the separation of church and state.
Midamar’s directors and employees are eternally grateful to the many suppliers, customers, media partners, Halal industry associates, organizations, and fellow citizens who have expressed their support to the company.”
Source: New York Times, Midamar Corp.