Skip to comments.Does a kosher butcher’s fraud mandate a life sentence?
Posted on 04/21/2010 5:40:54 AM PDT by SJackson
Yes, we Jews unfortunately have our criminals. Yes, we Orthodox Jews unfortunately have our felons. Were human, too.
At middle age I have come to accept my limitations. Although I like to have an opinion on almost everything, I am conscious of the fact that I am not a legal scholar and do not understand all the complexities of the criminal case against Sholom Rubashkin, former CEO of Americas largest kosher meat plant, Agriprocessors of Postville, Iowa.
But I am not a stupid man either. And I and a heck of a lot of other fairly intelligent and educated people are scratching our heads as to why government prosecutors are requesting that Rubashkin, who has 10 children, including an autistic son, and a reputation for enormous philanthropy, be given a life sentence in prison.
Life behind bars the very words are ominous. Isnt that reserved for societys most heinous offenders? A life sentence has one conjuring images of rapists and murderers, international drug cartel kingpins and white-collar criminals guilty of gargantuan fraud, like Bernard Madoff.
What did Rubashkin do? After an INS raid on the plant that found hundreds of illegal immigrants, the company was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy and Rubashkin, who had already been arrested for employing illegals, was subsequently found guilty of defrauding a bank and producing false invoices to keep the business going. There is no insinuation that he did any of this for personal profit or gain. Unlike Madoff, he had no Hamptons estate, no fancy yacht and no Manhattan penthouse. By all accounts he and his family lived in incredibly modest circumstances.
Obviously, the Rubashkin story has been an enormous embarrassment to the American Jewish community in general and Orthodoxy in particular. The largest kosher meat plant in the country employing hundreds of illegal immigrants? Engaging in bank fraud to remain a going concern? Falsifying invoices and misleading lenders? These are serious charges that go against both terrestrial and celestial law and constitute actions that neither man nor God can condone. The expected flight of Jewish leaders and spokespeople from Rubashkins side ensued, whatever the injustice of his proposed sentence. We Jews are accustomed to run from scandal like the plague.
SO LETS remove the smoke from this unsavory story and focus on truth.
Yes, we Jews unfortunately have our criminals. Yes, we Orthodox Jews unfortunately have our felons. Were human, too. We have people guilty of serious wrongdoing. And we too must confess our sins, repent of our actions, are punished for our crimes and teach our children to always do better and never excuse our behavior.
Our community needs to know that no matter how important you believe it is for other Jews to eat kosher, you cannot purchase that mitzva at any price. You cannot be a good Jew if you are not an honest person. A religious obligation that comes through theft even when the intention is to simply keep a business open so you can eventually pay off your loans subverts all principles of religious morality.
Rubashkin is no hero. Whatever the nobility of his intentions, he is a poor example to religious youth. He has been found guilty of a crime and he must do the time.
But he is no monster either. Unlike Wall Street bankers, he did not bet the farm and other peoples deposits to buy himself a Ferrari. Unlike AIG executives, he did not cost the government billions in bailouts and then get a bonus. And while I, of course, understand that criminal conduct is infinitely more serious, so is prosecutorial overzealousness that borders on fanaticism.
The time that Rubashkin serves must be fair and just. This is America. Just as there is no room for toleration of criminal conduct, there is also no room for a lynch mob mentality. I realize I am not a lawyer. But I have enough sense to understand that a punishment of a few years in prison sets an unassailable example that criminal conduct is utterly inexcusable. Anything more than that for a crime of this nature gives the false impression that the American justice system is prejudicial and untrustworthy.
As for the outcry from the hassidic community that Rubashkin is being treated unfairly and that his yarmulke and beard make for a prosecutorial bulls-eye, I love America too much to believe any of it. This is the fairest, most decent country on Earth. But I do believe it possible that when an overtly religious person perpetrates a crime especially one that involves companies catering to religious needs there is a feeling on the part of many that the hypocrisy mandates an even harsher sentence.
So lets be clear.
This is not in any way analogous to other ugly religious stories dominating the news like pedophile priests. There is no suggestion that Rubashkins crimes be covered up. Less so is there any insinuation that Rubashkin be moved to another state where he can start up a new kosher meat plant. Rubashkins trustworthiness in the American Jewish community is finished.
But there is an insistence that he be treated like a human being. That it be taken into consideration that he has no prior offenses and that his company provided kosher meat to hundreds of thousands of people at affordable prices so that more Jews could observe their faith. That he and his family are legendary in the hassidic community for their charitable giving, their hospitality and their communal involvement. That Rubashkin himself devoted a substantial portion of his profits to funding a soup kitchen and supporting organizations like Kollel Chabad that feed the hungry and the poor. To disregard all these considerations when it comes to sentencing is to disregard the universal belief that the good we do is not cancelled out by our horrendous mistakes.
I know my own limitations. Perhaps Rubashkins prosecutors ought to know theirs.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Should note that he hasn't been sentenced to life, a sentence not typically given for a crime of this type, that's the prosecutors request.
“As for the outcry from the hassidic community that Rubashkin is being treated unfairly and that his yarmulke and beard make for a prosecutorial bulls-eye, I love America too much to believe any of it. “
Tell that to Yankel Rosenbaum, Bracha Estrin, and Anthony Graziosi.
“This is the fairest, most decent country on Earth. “
While true, unfortunately it’s not saying too much.
It’s very hard to have sympathy for the Rubashkin gang. There were many more crimes that were not prosecuted merely to save the money and time.
The prosecutor is an imbecile.
Oh, please. He broke a bunch of black-and-white laws covering finance and labor over the course of several years. Throw the goniff (yiddish for thief) in the slammer, where he belongs. He should have thought about his 10 kids before becoming a crook.
yes. You cannot poison Jews with intent and violate their cultural and religious objectives.
Consistancy, and justice, requires similar sentences for similar crimes. There are no similar examples of life sentences for criminality of this nature. My guess he'll get somewhere between 8 and 20 years, which is what a defendent who doesn't look odd would get.
“Throw the goniff (yiddish for thief) in the slammer, where he belongs.”
Read the article. No one is saying that he should not be put in jail. But for life? If so, can we have some of that for more serious crimes?
He didn’t poison anyone, Jews or anyone else. The initial “crime”, “ “ because in the end he wasn’t charged, related to hiring illegal workers.
That may be, that's the prosecutors mistake.
Don’t rush to judgement. We haven’t even tried the Pastrami K’nish yet.
The American justice system is all about prosecutors getting headlines.
(1) A person is to be sentenced based on the conviction. Whatever other crimes he may —or may not — have committed are not supposed to be considered.
(2) I acknowledge that I haven’t researched this case thoroughly but it does seem that the requested life sentence is excessive, especially when compared to Madoff’s sentence. Heck, even CONFESSED terrorists aren’t given such stringent sentences.
(3) However, I do disagree with the author’s last paragraph, in which he tries to offset the man’s crime with the “good deeds” he supposedly did. The end does not justify the means. If he gave away all the money, to the best charity in the world, that wouldn’t negate the crime. In fact, giving away “ill gotten gains” is often linked to stealing—as a way of appeasing the criminal’s conscience.
(a)Ordinary people own or receive benefits from banks and loans. Stealing from a bank, no matter how rich the owners are, is still stealing from PEOPLE.
(b)If he had married & murdered an heiress, then gave away all “her” money, he would still be a murderer.
They were numerous and repeated. You would definitely not want to eat any product from there if you knew what they had been doing.
The illegal alien employees just brought the whole thing to a head and the fraud is what finally lit the fuse.
According to the Des Moines Register:
"According to documents recently obtained by the UFCW through Freedom of Information Act requests, over 250 Noncompliance Records (NRs) were issued to Agriprocessors by USDAs Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) between January 1, 2006 and January 24, 2007."
Who in their right mind wouldn't?..............OY!.........
And murderers sentenced to "life" generally get out before the victims' families are finished grieving.
I have known jews from Europe, Asia, and the ME who came from places where the legal system was so corrupt and antiJewish that were conditioned to just ignore laws and rules and courts.
The ‘law’ became whatever you can get away with.
Unfortunately, some of them brought this attitude with them to America.
Armed gang holds up train in Mexico, robs freight
By Gustavo Ruiz, AP Writer / Dec 27, 2008
MORELIA, Mexico A gang of about 20 men armed with assault rifles robbed a train in the western Mexican state of Michoacan and carted off some of its freight, the state prosecutors office said Saturday. The gang parked a pickup truck across the tracks on Friday, forcing the train to stop. The assailants then threatened the trains crew and opened some of the freight containers it was carrying.
A statement by the prosecutors office did not specify what the gang stole from the train, operated by Kansas City Southern, a subsidiary of the US-based railway company. But the thieves may have been after drums of pseudoephedrine, a chemical used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines, according to an official at the Michoacan state attorney generals office. [snip]
The Des Moines Register reported that methamphetamine (AKA crystal meth) was discovered in active production at Agriprocessors.
Back in 2004, Hasidim religious from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Monsey, NY, were involved in importing the party drug "ecstasy" from Israel. Some got recruitment fees for bringing in friends. An investigation resulted in indictments against seven of the alleged drug lords. Sean Erez, an Israeli who authorities believed ran the ring, absconded to Amsterdam as L/E weighed a request for extradition to the US.
ADL appeals to attorney general in Rubashkin case
By Ben Harris · December 24, 2008
NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Anti-Defamation League has asked the US attorney general to ensure that Israel's Law of Return is not used to deny bail to Jewish defendants. In a letter to then-US Attorney General Michael Mukasey who is an Orthodox Jew, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman took note of a federal magistrate judge's recent denial of bail to Sholom Rubashkin, former manager of the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant.
The judge, Jon Scoles, ruled that Sholom Rubashkin posed a risk of flight and declined to release him on bail, pointing to evidence that he had a travel bag with cash and travel documents on hand at the time of his arrest. He also noted that two others accused of crimes connected to their work at Agriprocessors are believed to have fled to Israel. Scoles took note of Israel's Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to Jews.
On Monday, the judge denied a request to reconsider the judgment. Sholom Rubashkin's attorneys are said to be considering an appeal. The most troubling aspect here is that the government does not appear to have alleged, nor does the Detention Order conclude, that Defendant Rubashkin has any particular ties to Israel (he is alleged to have visited Israel in December 2007), Foxman wrote. Instead, the government and the Detention Order appear to conclude that simply because Defendant Sholom Rubashkin is Jewish, and because Jews may have a claim on Israeli citizenship, his religion is relevant to a bail hearing.
In their request for consideration, Rubashkin's attorneys argued at length that invoking the Law of Return was illegitimate, noting that under the government's reasoning, every American Jew would be viewed as a heightened flight risk, including Mukasey himself and two justices of the US Supreme Court. They further proposed several additional measures to ensure Rubashkin did not flee, including 24-hour security surveillance at the defendant's expense.
In denying the motion, Scoles asserted that Rubashkin's attorneys attach too much significance to the Law of Return factor in the original decision and that they had not produced any new information bearing on his risk of flight. Rubashkin was arrested in late October on charges relating to the hiring of illegal workers at the company's Postville, Iowa, packing plant.
While free on bond, Rubashkin was arrested a second time and charged with bank fraud. (Rubashkin, Agriprocessors CEO, is accused of diverting millions of dollars in customer payments that were part of First Banks collateral and instructing an employee to delete evidence of the scheme from the companys computers.
REFERENCE Agriprocessors produces Kosher meat and poultry in Iowa. It was founded by Brooklyn butcher, Aaron Rubashkin, and managed by his son, Sholom. In the affidavit filed as part of the 60-page application for a search warrant of the premises, details were revealed of the government's investigation including numerous allegations of health and safety violations, mistreating workers, and using controversial slaughter practices.
A former supervisor at the plant--identified as Source #1- told investigators that some 80% of the workforce was illegal. The source also said he believed rabbis responsible for Kosher supervision entered the United States from Canada without proper immigration documents. The rabbis are believed to be Israelis.
Sources related stories of fraudulent documents and Social Security numbers presented for employment. Several said they were aware of undocumented workers paid by supervisors in cash. The affidavit says the government has probable cause to believe that an Agriprocessors supervisor assisted workers in acquiring fake documents in exchange for a cut of the proceeds.
The Des Moines Register headlined that methamphetamine (AKA crystal meth) was discovered in active production at Agriprocessors (a substance that has been linked to Israeli suppliers).
In another case, Rubashkin apparently "sold" $2 million worth of meat to Allou Healthcare (a company controlled by the Rubashkin's Hasidim brethren) Only problem is, Allou distributes health and beauty items------and is not in the food business. Authorities might consider that Allou paying Rubashkin for a product it did not sell might be a kickback, money laundering or tax evasion scheme.
Money laundering or tax evasion might be integrated into Agriprocessor's bank fraud schemes----which included diverting millions of dollars in customer payments that were part of First Banks collateral and instructing an Agriprocessor employee to delete evidence of the scheme from the companys computers........for which Rubashkin was arrested and charged with bank fraud.
Judge Scoles ruled that Shlomo Rubashkin CEO of Agriprocessors kosher meat plant, Iowa (pocesses meats for Orthodox consumers) posed a flight risk and declined to release him on bail, pointing to evidence that he had a travel bag with cash and travel documents on hand at the time of his arrest.
Judge Scoles also noted that two others accused of crimes connected to Agriprocessors are believed to have fled to Israel. The source also said he believed rabbis responsible for kosher supervision entered the United States from Canada without proper immigration documents. The rabbis are believed to be from Israel.
Rubashkin was arrested in late October on charges relating to the hiring of illegal workers at the company's Postville, Iowa, packing plant. While free on bond, Rubashkin was arrested a second time and charged with bank fraud........accused of diverting millions of dollars in customer payments that were part of First Banks collateral and instructing an employee to delete evidence of the scheme from the companys computers.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.