His sentencing in two weeks in a federal courtroom in Sioux City, IA, won’t be the first time that Austin “Jack” DeCoster has had to pay up for his legal misdeeds. DeCoster has paid millions in fines before, but in two weeks, the 79-year-old DeCoster and his 51-year-old son, Peter DeCoster, will face both possible jail sentences and some victims of the Salmonella outbreak caused by their Iowa egg farms in 2010. An Iowa attorney general once denounced DeCoster as a “habitual violator” of the state’s environmental laws, and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich said that DeCoster Egg Farms in Maine was “as dangerous and oppressive as any sweatshop we have seen.” DeCosters“Jack” DeCoster was likely the largest egg producer in the United States when a outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis involving 1,939 illnesses was linked to two of his Iowa egg farms in 2010. He and Peter DeCoster have each pleaded guilty to one federal misdemeanor of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The family business, known as Quality Egg LLC, has pleaded guilty to the federal felony count of bribing a USDA egg inspector and to two misdemeanors associated with the outbreak. They’ve agreed that the LLC will pay a $6.8-million fine and the two defendants will be fined $100,000 each, for a total of $7 million. Left to be decided by U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett at sentencing is whether “Jack” and Peter DeCoster will do any prison time. Defense attorneys say they cannot be jailed, confined, or even subjected to home detention because imposing any loss of freedom would violate the U.S. Constitution. That’s because the misdemeanor they’ve each pleaded guilty to involves only their role as a “responsible corporate officer” in admitting a company breached a strict liability duty and not one where they actually knew they were doing something wrong at the time the action occurred. It is not known if anyone is recommending jail time for the DeCosters. Pre-Sentence Investigative Reports (PSIRs), which may include sentencing recommendations, are sealed by the court, including recent amendments and revisions. Those reports likely include summaries of the DeCoster’s past infractions, including paying more than $7 million in past fines for a variety of labor and environmental violations. Those appear to have begun in 1975 when DeCoster’s company paid a $2,500 fine for failing to keep accurate trucking logs. It would next pay a $14,000 fine for so-called “hours of service” violations in 1976. DeCoster-owned Maryland and New York egg farms were found responsible for a 1987 Salmonella outbreak that caused health officials to ban sales from those facilities for a time. DeCoster paid a $2-million U.S. Department of Labor fine in 1997 for those living and working conditions which former Labor Secretary Reich called dangerous and oppressive. And, in 2002, DeCoster paid a $3.2-million fine to settle a lawsuit over working and living conditions for Mexican workers. Also in 2002, DeCoster paid a $1.53-million fine because company supervisors were said to be involved in rape and other sexual violence involving female employees, especially those of Mexican origin. The past settlements by DeCoster business entities for both criminal and civil actions regarding various labor and environmental issues are unlikely to impact the sentencing of the DeCosters as individuals. Attorneys for both men challenged their initial PSIR, resulting in an amended version. Government attorneys say that all three defendants can be sentenced in half a day. Sentencing exhibits will be filed by April 1. The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Victim Notification System is being used to solicit victims’ testimony. The Salmonella outbreak ran from May 1 to Nov. 30, 2010, and caused DeCoster-owned Wright County and Hallandale egg farms in Iowa to recall more than a half-billion shell eggs, the largest recall of its kind in history. And while there were 1,939 confirmed infections, statistical models used to account for Salmonella illnesses in the U.S. suggest that more than 62,000 people may have been sickened by DeCoster eggs. Sentencing will likely come on April 13 or 14 in the U.S. District Court in Sioux City.