The founder and former owner of a Cedar Rapids-based meat supplier has been found guilty of 15 counts of fraud in federal district court on Monday. Midamar founder Bill Aossey faces more than a century in prison for fraudulently labeling beef so it appeared to meet certain Islamic standards when it did not. He also was convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud.
From 2007 to 2010 Aossey instructed employees to label meat as coming from an Omaha slaughterhouse, when in fact it came from a facility in Minnesota. Malaysia and Indonesia approve only of the slaughter practices preformed by the Omaha facility, yet the fraudulently labeled beef was then shipped overseas in violation of those countries' import regulations.*
In a written statement the company says, "Midamar employees and management are deeply disappointed and concerned to learn that Bill Aossey was found guilty on several charges...None of the violations included a compromise of the Halal integrity of Midamar's products. Nor was he convicted of any such violations."**
Aossey will likely be sentenced in a couple months and is currently detained without bond. Chief Judge Linda Reade presided over the case. In 2010 she heard the Agirprocessors case out of Postville.
Agirprocessors CEO Sholom Rubashkin was found guilty of 86 counts fraud in connection to the 2008 immigration raid of his kosher slaughterhouse. Reade sentenced Rubashkin to 27 years in prison and ordered him to pay nearly $27 million in restitution.
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that some of the meat shipped was not Halal. While the indictment alleges this to be the case, the jury ultimately only decided that meat had been labeled from one facility when it had come from another.
**This post has been updated with additional information since it was first published.