A federal grand jury has found Midamar Corp. founder William Aossey Jr. guilty of 15 of 19 charges, including conspiracy, making false statements on export certificates and wire fraud. The trial was part of a scheme to export beef to Malaysia and Indonesia that did not meet those countries halal requirements, reports the Associated Press. He was acquitted of four counts of money laundering.
Prosecutors say Aossey oversaw a scheme in which Midamar employees lied about the origin of their products so they could export them to Malaysia and Indonesia from 2007 to 2010. Those products came from a slaughterhouse that was not approved to export to those countries and were falsely labeled with establishment information from a company that had approval.
Testifying in his own defense during the weeklong trial, Aossey admitted that he told employees to change the establishment numbers and that the company falsified export documents. But he said he didn't believe those actions were criminal and repeatedly described them as minor administrative infractions — an explanation criticized Monday by the judge.
Aossey's attorney, Haytham Faraj, said he respected the jury's verdict but would appeal. He said Aossey admitted making misrepresentations but argued they were immaterial because the customers were satisfied with the products they received. He said PM Beef's slaughtering methods were accepted as halal.
"The meat was halal and it continued to be halal," he said.
Aossey’s two sons, Jalel and Yahya “Bill” Aossey, are also awaiting trial as part of the investigation into Midamar.
Source: Associated Press via ABC News