Former SK Foods LP vice president Jeffrey Beasley pleaded guilty Aug. 25 in federal court to a single conspiracy count in the ongoing tomato industry corruption case.
The Associated Press reported sentencing was set for Jan. 12 for Beasley, who was charged last week and who prosecutors say will cooperate in the investigation. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Beasley of Lockeford, Calif., was charged with participating in conspiracies involving honest services fraud and the introduction and delivery of misbranded food with the intent to defraud during his tenure at SK Foods, Monterey, Calif., the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between January 2004 and April 2008, Beasley, along with other SK Foods employees, bribed their own employees and defrauded SK Foods’ customers, including Kraft Foods Inc., Frito-Lay Inc. and B&G Foods Inc., by charging inflated prices.
Beasley entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.
Beasley is the seventh individual, and the first SK Foods senior executive, to plead guilty in connection with the government’s tomato industry probe. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division are involved in the multiyear investigation that became public after SK Foods’ Monterey offices were raided by federal agents last year.