GRANT SCHULTE • Des Moines Register
Sioux Falls, S.D. – A bank official who inspected the books at Agriprocessors Inc. one week after a 2008 immigration raid testified Wednesday that the allegedly fake sales records that he was given appeared real.
Shane May, an examiner for First Bank Business Capital, told jurors that the May 2008 review of the eastern Iowa meat plant’s records found nothing wrong, aside from one minor error.
“Did you assume that the information provided to you was accurate?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney C.J. Williams.
“Yes,” May said.
May’s testimony came during the second week of Sholom Rubashkin’s 91-count financial fraud trial in Sioux Falls, S.D. Rubashkin, a former vice president at Agriprocessors, Inc., has pleaded not guilty to charges of bank, mail and wire fraud, money laundering and failing to pay livestock providers in the time required by law.
Prosecutors contend that Rubashkin told a slaughterhouse sales employee to produce bogus company records in a scheme to defraud the St. Louis-based lender.
The allegedly fake sales records were shown to bank officials as proof that customers owed Agriprocessors Inc. millions of dollars for meat and other animal parts. The records, as a result, increased the amount of money the plant could borrow from a $35 million credit line.
Then came a federal immigration raid in May 2008 that gutted one-third of the plant’s work force, and eventually pushed Agriprocessors into bankruptcy. Rubashkin resigned, and the bankruptcy trustee who tried to collect unpaid debts from customers discovered that many of the reported sales may not have taken place.
Prosecutors also contend that Rubashkin diverted cash payments into an operating account, when the money was supposed to go to First Bank.
Defense lawyers argue that the allegedly fake sales records were for legitimate transactions that were not properly recorded.
Rubashkin also faces 71 federal immigration-related charges. That trial will begin one week after the financial fraud trial ends.
The trial was moved from Cedar Rapids to Sioux Falls because of pre-trial publicity.
May said the records he reviewed only extended up to March 2008. The records immediately before and after the raid had yet been finalized, he said.