Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
Fraud charges familiar to the Rubashkin family
The arrest of Agriprocessors CEO Sholom Rubashkin on bank fraud charges earlier today marked the fourth time that he or his brother has been alleged to have engaged in financial deception.
Sholom’s older brother, Moshe Rubashkin, was sentenced in 2002 to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $225,000 in restitution for bank fraud. The case was linked to his ownership and operation of Montex Textiles, a Pennsylvania company. Moshe was also recently sentenced to 16 months for the company’s illegal storage of hazardous waste.
Last year, Agriprocessors executives agreed to pay $1.4 million to resolve allegations that the company participated in a scheme to hide another company’s assets during a bankruptcy.
Allou Distributors, a health and beauty distribution company owned by Herman Jacobowitz of New York, filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The filing came in the wake of a fire that destroyed Allou’s Brooklyn warehouse, a blaze eerily similar to the unexplained fire that gutted the Montex textile plant.
A trustee in the bankruptcy proceedings accused the Jacobowitz family of paying a total of $3.2 million to Agriprocessors and other Rubashkin entities for the sole purpose of hiding it from creditors. The trustee charged that that no services or products exchanged hands in the transaction.
When deposed in the case, Sholom Rubashkin said that his Postville real estate company, Nevel Properties, had given Allou nothing in return for the payments. Upon further questioning Rubashkin said that he hadn’t fully understood the question and promised to “get back to you on that.”
The attorney representing Rubashkin in the case was Bernard Feldman, the man who was named in September as the new chief executive officer of Agriprocessors.
Rubashkin later testified that Allou had sent payments to Agriprocessors in exchange for “surplus meat.” He said that because the executive in charge of the account had “died at his desk” in 2003, the company could not provide details of the exchanges. Why Allou, a distributor of health and beauty products, would need millions of dollars of meat was not explained.
While never charged with wrongdoing, the Rubashkin family nonetheless agreed to settle the allegations by paying $1.4 million for disbursement by the trustee.
Jacobowitz was sentenced to 15 years in prison, ordered to pay restitution of $177 million and forfeit an additional $130 million. His siblings, Jacob and Aaron Jacobowitz, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In 1995, Moshe and his father, Aaron, were found guilty of collecting union dues from their employees at the Cherry Hill Textile firm without sending the collected monies on to the United Production Workers Union. The National Labor Relations Board ordered the Rubashkins repay the money with interest.