(CN) – A Midwestern halal beef supplier and the Islamic Services of America pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to making false statements and falsifying export and other documents for shipments of halal beef to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Yahya Nassar Aossey, director of Midamar, and Jalel Aossey, director and president of Islamic Services of America, entered guilty pleas in separate hearings to one count of what had originally been a 92-count indictment.
During their respective hearings, the company officers admitted they conspired to cover up the fact the cows providing the halal beef were not slaughtered according to strict Islamic standard. Their actions included falsifying documents submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, creating forged export certificates, and committing mail and wire fraud over a six year period beginning in 2007 and continuing through April 2012.
The companies now face one to five years of probation and fines of up to $500,000. Each company has also agreed to forfeit a minimum of $600,000, representing the proceeds they garnered from the wire fraud.
Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible.” In terms of food, it means food that is permissible according to Islamic law. For a meat to be certified “halal,” it cannot be a forbidden cut — such as meat from hindquarters — or come from forbidden animals, such as pigs.
The method used to slaughter the animals providing the beef must also adhere to specific guidelines.
In July, Midamar’s 73 year old founder, William Aossey was convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud charges, and immediately taken to jail where he awaits sentencing.
In January, the company’s former operations manager, Phil Payne, pleaded guilty to charges he and others created false USDA inspection marks to deceive Muslim customers.
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