A preliminary order of forfeiture has been entered in the U.S. District Court for Northern Iowa requiring defendants Midamar Corporation and Islamic Services of America to pay a judgment of $600,000 to the federal government. Signed by Chief Judge Linda R. Reade, the order was entered after the business entities each pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. The federal forfeiture order authorizes the U.S. Attorney General or a designated representative to locate and seize money or other assets to satisfy the judgment. Cedar Rapids, IA-based Midamar and Islamic Services, along with brothers Jalel and Yahya Nasser Aossey, were named in a Dec. 5 indictment alleging 92 charges. However, all defendants reached plea agreements with government prosecutors just before a jury trial that was scheduled for last month. In a separate trial in mid-July, William B. Aossey Jr., father of the two Aossey brothers, was convicted by a jury on 15 of the 19 charges brought against him. He was taken into federal custody pending sentencing, and his appeal for a new trial was recently denied. Like Midamar and Islamic Services, Jalel Aossey pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy. Yahya Nasser Aossey pleaded guilty to two counts of selling misbranded meat. Since the plea agreements with the government were reached on the eve of what would have been the second trial, the forfeiture order is the only part of the sentencing that has yet to occur. Pre-Sentence Investigative Reports for each of the defendants have only recently been filed with the court. Defendants will likely receive their sentencing dates shortly. In their plea agreements, the defendants admit to making false statements on export certificates with the intent to defraud, selling misbranded meat in interstate commerce with the intent to defraud, and committing mail and wire fraud. A single conspiracy violation is a felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine. Each misdemeanor charge carries the potential of one year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. The charges stem from supposedly Halal food shipments made several years ago. Midamar has continued to do business while the criminal cases were prosecuted.
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