Ranchocow_406x250U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer has sentenced 79-year old Robert W. Singleton to a “custodial term” of three months to be followed by one year of supervised probation for his role in a scheme to process cattle condemned by USDA, usually for cancerous eyes. In a 15-minute sentencing hearing, Singleton was also ordered to pay a $100 court assessment. The judge did not impose any fine, and put restitution off to May 31. Breyer ordered Singleton to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals on or before May 31, but granted him permission to attend a family reunion in Reno, NV, before reporting. Singleton has been under instructions not to leave the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Singleton was the first to cooperate with the government investigation of infractions at the Petaluma slaughterhouse. His business partner of more than 30 years, Jesse “Babe” Amaral operated the slaughterhouse as the Rancho Feeding Corp., while Singleton’s Rancho Veal Corp. purchased cattle at auctions and sale barns. Amaral came up with the idea of moving condemned animals past USDA inspectors and pocketing the money. Breyer also sentenced a Rancho yardman, 65-year old Eugene D. Corda, to three months probation with a $100 assessment. Corda moved cattle into place as directed by a foreman, but eventually figured out what was going on. The judge granted Corda permission to continue feeding cattle for Amaral. Amaral was sentenced last month to a year and day in federal prison. After that he will be on supervised probation for two years with the first year spent in a re-entry or half way house. Only Rancho foreman Felix Cabrera remains to be sentenced. He will appear before Judge Breyer next week. In lieu of a trial, all four defendants negotiated agreements with the government to plead guilty to distributing adulterated, misbranded, and un-inspected meat. All were also required to cooperate with investigators. Rancho recalled 8.7 million pounds of meat in early February 2014, covering more than 13 months production back to Jan. 1, 2013.   (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)