A federal judge sentenced Jalel Aossey to one year in prison and his brother Yahya to probation for their involvement in mislabeling halal products and illegally exporting them from Midamar to Malaysia.
Jalel Aossey, 40, will serve one year and one day in federal prison and pay a $30,000 fine for one felony count of conspiracy.
U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade said she gave him the extra day, so he could earn “good time” in prison, which is earned time to reduce a prison term, and he wouldn’t have been eligible with only 12 months.
Reade sentenced Yahya Aossey, 45, to three years probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine. He was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of selling and transporting meat food products that were misbranded at the time of sale or transportation.
Jalel Aossey said before being sentenced that he “sincerely” sorry for his actions and constantly thinks about what he did and what he should have done. He apologized to the court, his family and his wife, for causing her “pain and anguish” over the last few years. He also apologized to his five children, who are ages 1 to 9, for not being a better example.
Jalel said he has always taught his children to be accountable but acknowledged “we are all humans and falliable and have the opportunity to correct”… and learn from mistakes.”
After the hearing, Jalel Aossey told KCRG-TV9 “I respect the decisions made by the court,” he said. “The company will recover because we have tremendous support from the community.”
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Yahya Aossey also apologized to the court and “everyone affected” before sentencing, saying he feels confident in the procedures and policies put into place, as part of the restructuring required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and knows these violations will not happen again. He looks forward to moving ahead.
Reade also ordered that both brothers comply with the USDA consent decree, which required the restructuring and the resignation of Jalel Aossey from the companies. He can’t be part of the company in any way, along with his father, Midamar founder William Aossey Jr., who was convicted last summer and is serving two years in prison.
During the plea hearing last year, Jalel Aossey admitted to conspiring to cover up material facts; making and using false statements and documents in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture; making false statements on export certificates with the intent to defraud and committing mail; and wire fraud, from a time period starting in 2007 and continuing into April 2012.
According to trial testimony, William Aossey, directed employees at Midamar to fabricate and falsify shipping records and change USDA establishment numbers identifying where the meat was slaughtered. ISA certificates were also falsified, under William Aossey’s direction, to make it appear as if beef products had been slaughtered at an approved facility for those two countries, according to testimony.
Yahya Aossey at his plea hearing last year admitted to selling the misbranded meat that falsely claimed in ISA documents that it had been “supervised and slaughtered by Muslim slaughterman.” Yahya is now in charge of Midamar and ISA.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy said, now that the case is wrapped up, he thought all the sentences were “good resolutions for food safety and consumers,” and he was pleased the USDA consent decree helped change the companies operations, which also helped keep them in business. If the USDA hadn’t agree to the consent decree, with Murphy’s persuasion, it may have closed down Midamar because the company had previous violations, Murphy said.
Murphy said these were serious violations, which could have affected international trade. He said Malaysia and other countries could have stopped doing business with companies in the states because of this fraud.