The founder of a Halal foods exporting business in north-central Iowa was found guilty Monday of 15 of 19 federal felonies with which he was charged in a scheme to export beef to Malaysia and Indonesia without meeting the slaughter standards of those Muslim countries. The federal jury in Cedar Rapids, IA, found William B. Aossey Jr. guilty on 15 counts, including conspiracy, falsifying export certificates, and wire fraud. The U.S. District Court for Northern Iowa jury found Aossey not guilty on four counts involving monetary transactions and money laundering. The Cedar Rapids businessman, 73, is the founder of Midamar Corp., an exporter of Halal food that works in concert with Islamic Services of America (ISA), which certifies that companies are meeting Halal standards. After the jury verdicts, forfeiture and detention hearings, Aossey was taken into custody until sentencing. His convictions carry possible prison time of 166 years, plus fines and forfeitures. Earlier, the jury found proceedings from the seven wire fraud convictions are potentially subject to forfeiture totaling almost $185,000. At sentencing, Aossey could get up to five years for the conspiracy conviction, up to three years for each count of making a false statement on an export application, and up to 20 years for each wire fraud charge. Chief Judge Linda R. Reade accepted the jury verdicts and ordered the U.S. Probation Office to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and prepare a report. Attorneys were ordered to comply with deadlines for preparation of the pre-sentence report and not to contact any jurors. The jury that convicted Aossey was selected last Tuesday morning, and opening statements in the trial were made on the following afternoon. The prosecution called 16 witnesses before resting shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday. Defense attorneys Haytham Faraj and Matthew Amarin put on four witnesses, including Aossey. The jury began deliberations at shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, but later in the afternoon adjourned for the week. The jury took up the case again at 9 a.m. today and reached its verdicts before lunch. The events that led to Aossey’s conviction occurred between 2007 and 2010. Later this summer, Aossey’s two sons, Midamar Corp., and ISA are scheduled to go on trial on similar charges. They were separately indicted last December. Aossey was found guilty on the following 15 counts: 18:371 CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES with Forfeiture Allegation (1) 18:371 CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES w/Forfeiture Allegation (1s) 21:611(b)(5) and 18:2 FORGERY OF OFFICIAL DEVICE, MARK OR CERTIFICATE (2-8) 21:611(b)(5) and 18:2 FORGERY OF DEVICES, MARKS, LABELS, CERTIFICATES (2s-8s) 18:1343 and 2 FRAUD BY WIRE, RADIO, OR TELEVISION with Forfeiture Allegation (9-15) 18:1343 and 2 WIRE FRAUD w/Forfeiture Allegation (9s-15s) Aossey was found not guilty on these four counts: 18:1957(a) and 2 ENGAGING IN MONETARY TRANSACTIONS with Forfeiture Allegation (16) 18:1957(a) and 2 ENGAGING IN MONETARY TRANSACTIONS w/Forfeiture Allegation (16s) 18:1957(a) and 2 ENGAGING IN MONETARY TRANSACTIONS with Forfeiture Allegation (17-18) 18:1957(a) and 2 ENGAGING IN MONETARY TRANSACTIONS w/Forfeiture Allegation (17s) 18:1957(a) and 2 ENGAGING IN MONETARY TRANSACTIONS w/Forfeiture Allegation (18s) 18:1956(h) MONEY LAUNDERING – POSTAL, INTERSTATE WIRE, RADIO, ETC. (19) 18:1956(h) MONEY LAUNDERING – POSTAL, INTERSTATE WIRE, RADIO, ETC. w/Forfeiture Allegation (19s) Editor’s Note: This article was updated after the defendant was taken into custody pending sentencing.
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