One of the most influential men in the agricultural industry in California was stripped of his power after pleading guilty to racketeering and price-fixing. Now, the man who turned a small canning company into one of the biggest processors of tomatoes in the state will be spending the next six years in a federal prison.
Looking at what happened, the 57-year-old was reportedly bribing purchasing managers at certain food giants, such as Kraft Foods Inc, PepsiCo Inc. and Safeway Inc. The buyers from these food giants have also pleaded guilty to accepting the bribes. In total, there are 10 co-defendants tied to this case.
In addition to bribing the managers to purchase the company’s tomato products, it was also found that the quality of the tomatoes was not always up to par. With some bribes, food quality tests were faked. In fact, moldy tomatoes were allowed to be processed and fake organic labels were put on some of the products.
In total, roughly $100,000 was given out in bribes for price-fixing and processing lesser quality tomato products.
In looking at this case, it should be mentioned that there were not any reports related to consumers getting ill. The former agricultural giant also has expressed remorse for his actions, with his attorney claiming the 57-year-old is an alcoholic who made impaired decisions.
In addition to the six years in federal prison, he will also receive some counseling around his alcohol use.
Cases such as this one show how seriously the government takes white collar crimes. For while these types of crimes are often referred to as “victimless” this does not mean that the consequences are any less severe.
White collar crimes also have a certain stigma surrounding them. In fact, these crimes can end up seriously impacting someone’s life, even well after their prison sentence is served.
Source: Huffington Post, “Frederick Scott Slayer, Agriculture Executive, Sentenced For Tomato Price-Fixing Scam,” Tracie Cone, Feb. 12, 2013
- Our firm handles all different types of white collar crime charges. To learn more, visit our San Bernardino white collar crimes page.