BY GRANT SCHULTE • Des Moines Register
The former chief financial officer at Agriprocessors Inc. pleaded guilty today to a charge that he conspired to make false statements to a bank.
Mitchell Meltzer, 50, of Postville was convicted of the conspiracy charge in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.
Meltzer is the latest in a string of employees from the Postville meat plant to plea bargain with federal prosecutors. Another financial employee, Yomtov “Toby” Bensasson, pleaded guilty to the same charge in August as part of a deal.
According to prosecutors, Meltzer admitted that he conspired with others to make false statements to a bank “in connection with requests for advances on a loan.”
Meltzer acknowledged that he signed legal papers on Feb. 1, 2008, that overstated the value of collateral as part of his employer’s request for loan money. In court papers, prosecutors alleged that Meltzer conspired with another person whose initials are S.R.
Meltzer remains free on bond until his sentencing at a not-yet-determined date. He faces a maximum five-year prison sentence, a $250,000 fine and three years of probation.
Agriprocessors was the site of a May 2008 immigration raid that led to the arrest of 389 illegal workers and eventual charges against former executive Sholom Rubashkin and several managers.
Among the allegations are claims that Rubashkin lied to a St. Louis bank about the value of the plant’s collateral, so the plant could collect advances on a $35 million loan.
Rubashkin has pleaded not guilty, and is expected to defend himself at trial on Oct. 13.
Prosecutors did not identify Meltzer as an Agriprocessors employee. But Meltzer worked as the plant’s chief financial officer from October 1996 until March 2009, according to his page on the LinkedIn.com professional networking Web site.
Meltzer now works at a private tax and accounting firm, according to LinkedIn.com.
The case was handled by Peter Deegan, C.J. Williams and Matthew Cole, the same three U.S. attorneys who are prosecuting Rubashkin and Agriprocessors.