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Rubashkin - Why Should You Care?

Life Sentence for $3,800.51??

Get this: one of the charges in the Rubashkin case is that he paid a cattle supplier late, violating the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act and costing the supplier a grand total of... $3,800.51!! This article was posted online recently and includes a lot of interesting facts about this case.

Here's a sampling:

Ironically, Rubashkin was not tried for hiring or mistreating illegal aliens. Instead, he was charged with financial crimes, including violating the obscure 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act, section 409 of which requires payment to cattle suppliers within 24 hours. In many cases, Rubashkin paid his vendors several days late. In a detailed sentencing memorandum, the prosecution points to 31 cattle suppliers who were not paid within 24 hours—but were indeed paid. Specifically, on page 25 of the memo, prosecutors assert, “The actual loss to each Packer's Act victim is attributable to the fact that they all lost the time value of their money while they were waiting for payment.” As an example, the government sentencing memo declares, “Waverly Sales, Inc. has quantified the amount of their actual loss to be $3,800.51. This is based upon the amount of interest Waverly paid on a mortgage loan it took out on its property in order to cover the cost of the cattle sold to Agriprocessors while it was waiting for payment through the Packer's trust.” As such, Rubashkin is to get a life sentence in part because his supplier lost interest waiting for full payment, which was actually made, but made days late. Indeed, this is the first criminal prosecution under the 90-year-old Packers and Stockyards Act any legal expert contacted could remember.

Read the whole article > > > 

Madoff and Rubashkin: Where's the fairness?

In early December 2008, Bernie Madoff was arrested by federal agents for allegedly masterminding a $65 billion, decades-long Ponzi scheme. Yet, within days of his arrest, the government agreed to allow the accused swindler to remain free on bail. Granted, the bail conditions under which Madoff was forced to live were onerous, and included surrendering his and his wife's passports, 24-7 monitoring of his penthouse apartment, and severe restrictions on his movements outside the walls of his home.

The Madoff case illustrates that even for one of the most infamous white-collar criminals in modern times, there was a way to both satisfy the government's interest to ensure that a defendant shows up for court proceedings and at the same time provide an opportunity for a defendant to maintain some semblance of a family, professional and religious life while his or her case proceeds through the justice system.

Surprisingly, however, in another case - this one still unfolding - the Department of Justice is being overly parsimonious in refusing to allow bail for a defendant charged with white-collar crimes far less serious than those to which the disgraced Madoff pleaded last year.

Read the rest > > > 

An Important Personal Request!

Please understand that we are very careful whom we support and which causes we champion. If you would like to discuss this matter with me, please feel free to reply to this email or call me at 916 608 9811 ext. 101.

American Jewish leaders are expressing shock and outrage at the federal government’s recommendation that Sholom Rubashkin be sentenced to life in prison for his role as an executive with the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. It is the latest example of a prosecution that has repeatedly targeted Rubashkin for unfair treatment compared to others who have been accused of employing illegal immigrants or compromising the security of a bank loan. 

Please take just a few moments to sign an online petition at the “Justice for Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin” Web page at www.justiceforsholom.org and  call or e-mail Department of Justice Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison (202) 514-3465; oipl@usdoj.gov (and cc pr@justiceforsholom.org), to protest the recommendations of life in prison for Sholom Rubashkin.

If you are interested in assisting the “Equal Justice for Sholom Rubashkin” campaign, or in receiving call to action alerts should e-mail their contact info to info@justiceforsholom.org, or text message ICARE to  347-948-JUST (5878).

Jewish rabbinic leaders have signed a proclamation, urging their Jewish brethren to contact the Justice Department on Rubashkin’s behalf, calling it a “sacred obligation of every individual to participate in this mitzvah.”

In case you are unfamiliar with this case a little background and context is in order.

In May 2008 an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid took place at Agriprocessors, it included a military style raid with more than 600 federal agents. It was widely criticized for the extreme tactics utilized by prosecutors and ICE. The raid destroyed the company and had disastrous lasting effects on the community of Postville and the kosher meat industry.

Mr. Rubashkin, the former CEO of Agriprocessors, was originally indicted for employing illegal immigrants, an offense that has been punished with probation or a short prison term. After seven superseding indictments, prosecutors chose to proceed to trial on alleged bank fraud charges in an effort to increase Rubashkin’s punishment, even though interest was paid on all of the money drawn by the loan and the bank has acknowledged it received approximately $21 million in profit from the interest payments.

The bank loan was not paid in full because of the government’s raid on Agriprocessors, which caused the company to declare bankruptcy. The bank “called” the loan when Agriprocessors could not continue to make its payments.

Prosecutors and the U.S. Probation Office have calculated the total offense committed by Rubashkin at level 45 under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Because the federal Sentencing Table caps at level 43, the Probation Office has calculated the total offense at level 43. An offense level of 43 is punished with a life sentence under the sentencing guidelines, which the Supreme Court held as no longer mandatory.

Rubashkin’s attorneys have asked the court to impose a sentence no greater than 72 months, noting his positive history and character, his extraordinary family circumstances, and the arbitrary nature of the now-advisory guidelines used by prosecutors. They emphasize that Rubashkin’s conduct was not done for personal gain, that he did not intend any loss to the bank, and that a 72-month sentence would allow the Bureau of Prisons to place Rubashkin in a facility with experience in effectively and humanely incarcerating observant Jewish inmates.

The sentencing recommendation submitted by prosecutors to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa is inconsistent with sentencing of other corporate executives convicted in comparable cases. For example, Mark Turkcan, an official First Bank, was recently convicted of bank fraud involving a loss of approximately $35 million, and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. And Cathy Gieseker was sentenced to nine years in prison for bilking 179 farmers out of more than $27 million. Her motive, unlike Rubashkin and Turkcan, was greed. 

In Rubashkin’s bank-fraud trial, prosecutors were allowed to present inflammatory evidence regarding the employment of illegal workers, even though the judge had previously ruled that such evidence would prejudice the jury and had severed the immigration and bank fraud charges for that reason. The charges regarding harboring illegal immigrants were eventually dropped.

Rubashkin supporters argue that prosecutors have subjected Rubashkin to more severe restrictions and potential punishment than other employers whose work premises were raided by ICE and who were found to have hired larger numbers of illegal workers. The country’s largest meatpacker, Swift & Company, was raided in six different states in December 2006, and almost 1,300 illegal immigrants were arrested. No corporate official of Swift & Company has been prosecuted. RCI, International, a restaurant janitorial service operating in 17 states, was raided in 63 locations in February 2007. Its owners, who paid their employees (all illegal immigrants) in cash, were found to have defrauded the United States of more than $18 million in taxes. Its chief operating officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The owner of a Massachusetts manufacturer of leather goods and handbags raided by ICE in March 2007, when 326 illegal immigrants were arrested, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

I hope this background information helps clarify the matter; please take the time to sign the petition at www.justiceforsholom.org and call or email the DOJ at the contact info listed above.

Again, please feel free to contact me to discuss this matter.

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