DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former vice president of an Iowa kosher slaughterhouse will be sentenced to 27 years in prison and ordered to pay $31 million restitution for his conviction on financial fraud charges, a federal judge said Monday.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Linda R. Reade released the memorandum outlining the sentence she will hand down for Sholom Rubashkin during the former Agriprocessor's Inc. manager on Tuesday in federal court in Cedar Rapids.
A jury found Rubashkin guilty last fall on 86 federal financial fraud charges. Prosecutors had sought a 25-year sentence. Rubashkin's attorney, Guy Cook, said the sentence is longer than necessary and plans to appeal.
"It's unfair and excessive and is essentially a life sentence for a 51-year-old man," Cook said.
Rubashkin oversaw the plant in Postville, Iowa, that gained attention in 2008 after a large-scale immigration raid in which authorities detained 389 illegal immigrants. The plant filed for bankruptcy months after the raid and was later sold. Prosecutors claim evidence of the massive fraud scheme was uncovered during an investigation by a court-appointed trustee.
Prosecutors later alleged that Rubashkin intentionally deceived the company's lender and that he directed employees to create fake invoices in order to show St. Louis-based First Bank that the plant had more money flowing in that it really did. But Cook tried to portray Rubashkin as a bumbling businessman who was in over his head, and who never read the loan agreement with First Bank.
Rubashkin faced 72 charges for allegedly allowing illegal immigrants to work at the plant but Reade dismissed those charges and a jury acquitted Rubashkin of state child labor charges earlier this month.
Bob Teig, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined comment until after the sentence is imposed.