Owners & Employees of Petaluma Slaughterhouse Charged for Processing and Distributing Diseased Cattle

August 18, 2014 · 18 comments

Two owners and two employees of the now-defunct Rancho Feeding Corporation slaughterhouse in Petaluma have been charged for allegedly fraudulently processing and distributing condemned and diseased cattle.

The alleged offenses between 2012 and January 2014 led to a nationwide recall of 8.7 million pounds of beef in February.

The indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Francisco Thursday names Jesse “Babe” Amaral Jr., 76, of Petaluma, the co-owner of Rancho Feeding Corporation, and employees Eugene Corda, 65, of Petaluma, and Felix Sandoval Cabrera, 55, of Santa Rosa.

They are charged with distribution of adulterated, misbranded and un-inspected meat, conspiracy and mail fraud conspiracy.

Amaral also is charged with mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy in a separate scheme to defraud farmers by means of false invoicing.

Robert Singleton, 77, of Petaluma, co-owner of Rancho Feeding Corporation, also was charged on one count of distribution of adulterated, misbranded and un-inspected meat.

The indictment alleges that between mid- to late 2012 and Jan. 10, 2014, Amaral instructed Cabrera to process cattle that had been condemned by a U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian.

Carbrera then allegedly directed Rancho’s employees under his supervision to carve “USDA Condemned” stamps out of the cattle carcasses and to process more than 100 of them for transport, sale and distribution between January 2013 and January 2014.

During the same time frame, Amaral and Singleton allegedly directed Carbera and Corda to circumvent the inspection procedures for cattle that showed signs of epithelioma, or “eye cancer,” a disease that can result in condemnation, according to the indictment.

The alleged scheme to slaughter the cancerous cows happened during the USDA inspector’s lunch breaks when plant operations were supposed to cease at the slaughterhouse at 1522 Petaluma Blvd. N. Cabrera, Corda and other employees concealed the diseased cows’ heads by replacing them with healthy cows’ heads to pass post-mortem inspections, according to the indictment.

Federal prosecutors said approximately 79 diseased cattle that did not undergo a full USDA inspection were distributed between January 2013 and January 2014.

Rancho Feeding Corporation compensated Carbera approximately $50 for each condemned carcass or un-inspected cow with eye cancer that Rancho distributed, according to the indictment.

Amaral allegedly conspired to and fraudulently charged farmers “handling fees” based on false statements that the cattle had died or were condemned when in fact he knew the cattle were sold for human consumption, according to the indictment.

Between January 2013 and January 2014, Rancho Feeding Corporation mailed fraudulent invoices to farmers for approximately 17 cattle, the indictment alleges.

Amaral and Corda appeared today in federal court in San Francisco.

Amaral was released on a $50,000 secured bond, and Corda was scheduled to appear this afternoon in court.

Singleton is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning, and Cabrera has not yet appeared in court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to distribute adulterated meat is five years’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The maximum penalty for fraudulent distribution of adulterated meat is three years’ imprisonment, one year supervised release and a $10,000 fine.

Mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy are punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The USDA’s Office of Inspector General and its Food Safety Inspection Service investigated the Rancho Feeding Corporation’s practices.

1 Beef! August 18, 2014 at 8:41 PM

it’s what’s for dinner.

2 Marianne August 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM

and my main staple is beef; pork it is then.

3 Anon August 18, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Put them in. jail for a long time.

4 Clara Pepper August 18, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Where’s the beef?

5 Elsie the Cow August 18, 2014 at 9:47 PM

slaughter them!

6 Clasping Forehead August 18, 2014 at 10:48 PM

Please, what is purpose of post? The recall was back in February.

If post is precautionary (because we might still have questionable product in our home freezers), then please would Mayor tell us in what retail stores the meat was sold?

7 Dorothy August 18, 2014 at 11:02 PM

They were sick with greed.

8 VikingPrincess August 18, 2014 at 11:40 PM

This was posted months back on charges, not conviction, correct? I am only guessing this is a follow up indicating they were apparently guilty of charges.

9 funny man August 18, 2014 at 11:55 PM

news like this make me kind want to be a compete veganterian but..>>
bacon cheeseburgers.

once bovine spongiform encephalitis (mad cow disease) becomes more common in the US.. ill stop eating meat… i dont need more holes in my grey matter!

10 CLAYCORD.com August 19, 2014 at 12:01 AM

This was just an update to the original story.

11 anon August 19, 2014 at 2:52 AM

boy, when people get older sometimes they reflect on their life and regrets they have and are sorry for bad things they’ve done. Not these guys. Time’s running out.

12 anon August 19, 2014 at 2:56 AM

do we have a song writer in the house?
The tune will be Sonny and Cher ‘I got you babe’.
I have one line so far…..’they caught you babe’.

13 HaveaCow August 19, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Poor animals. Even when animals are being raised as food, they should be raised humanely. If these poor cattle were being treated with decency, they wouldn’t have been sick in the first place. Makes me glad that I rarely eat meat. It’s mostly no meat, chicken and fish for me.

14 Silva August 19, 2014 at 7:35 AM

I’m happy to know. Not sure why.

15 Trust us we're not going to do anything to hurt our customers August 19, 2014 at 8:29 AM

This unfortunately is an example of where we should have enforceable regulation, because business is soo worried about its customers. I know there are some business owners that actually put stuff before profits. It just seams like they are few and far between.

16 What's your beef? August 19, 2014 at 9:36 AM

So, is eating a cancerous eyeball actually bad for you?

17 BM August 19, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Crooked crooks get caught. Never trust someone with three names, it is a sign of dishonesty. The workers went along with it because that is what three namers do, destroy and contaminate America.

18 TheRealDeal August 21, 2014 at 4:56 PM

@BM; I agree with you 100% about the 3 names thing. My philosophy is simple; 1.) Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city. 2.) Never date women with dagger or dragon tattoos, 3.) Never get less than 8 hours of sleep.

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