Outlines of the plea agreements between the government and brothers Jalel and Yahya Nasser Aossey were coming into focus ahead of today’s federal court hearings in Cedar Rapids, IA. Court documents suggest that Jalel Aossey and the corporate entities are each being allowed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy. Yahya Nasser Aossey is to plead guilty to a two count Information charging him as a responsible corporate officer, with two counts of selling, transporting, and offering for sale and transportation in commerce, meat and meat food products that were misbranded at the time of sale or transportation, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 610(c)(1)(B) and 676(a). A conspiracy violation by an individual is punishable by: (1) up to five years of imprisonment without the possibility of parole, (2) a fine of up to $250,000, (3) a mandatory special assessment of $100, and (4) a term of supervised release of up to three years. Yahya Nasser Aossey is pleading to misdemeanors punishable by the following maximum penalties: (1) up to one year imprisonment without the possibility of parole; (2) a fine of up to $1,000; (3) a mandatory special assessment of $25; and (4) a term of supervised release of up to one year. The fine may be up to $100,000. He will likely be allowed to defer the prosecution of one of the two misdemeanors. Previously, all the defendants named in the Dec. 5 indictment pleaded not guilty to all 92 charges and were scheduled for a jury trial later this month. In mid-July, William B. Aossey Jr., founder of the Cedar Rapids-based Halal businesses, went separately to a jury trial on 19 similar charges and was convicted on 15 of them. He’s been taken into custody pending sentencing. On Thursday, Chief Judge Linda R. Reade accepted the plea agreements for Midamar and Islamic Services of America. Each entity pleaded guilty to the single count of conspiracy and each agreed to pay $600,000 for a criminal judgment of forfeiture and waive any future right of appeal or claim of conflict of interest based on legal representation. The government also agreed to allow the defendants to litigate any court-imposed fines. The conspiracy is a violation that falls under the sole jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture. The conspiracy involved a scheme that required the cover-up of material facts and the use of false statements and documents in a matter falling under the jurisdiction of USDA. Specifically, defendants admit making false statements of export certificates with intent to defraud, sell misbranded meat in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud, and to commit mail and wire fraud. The Aossey brothers are scheduled to appear at change-of-plea hearings today.
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