Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Howard Mora and Alan Buxbaum pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to conspiracy to commit wire fraud by using counterfeit United States Department of Agriculture stamps to sell misbranded lower quality beef at inflated prices to consumers. When sentenced, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and criminal forfeiture of $250,000.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Bethanne M. Dinkins, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG), announced the guilty pleas.
“Mora and Buxbaum rang up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent profits by charging customers more than the defendants’ products were worth, and now they will pay a price for their avarice,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme.
Between September 2011 and October 2014, the defendants were co-owners of A. Stein Meat Products, Inc., a wholesale meat processing and distribution business located in Brooklyn. During this period, the defendants purchased beef products that had been graded “Choice” quality by graders at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and directed their employees to carve off the “Choice” markings and re-stamp them as “Prime,” using counterfeit stamps. The meat was then sold at inflated prices to customers in the New York City metropolitan area.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan Harris and Turner Buford are in charge of the prosecution.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-425 (KAM)