Trish Mehaffey • KCRG 9 NewsCEDAR RAPIDS – A former beef operations manager of Agriprocessors was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 10 months in prison.
Brent Beebe, 52, of Postville, pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit document fraud as part of a plea agreement with the government. In the plea, Beebe admitted that he conspired with former vice president Sholom Rubashkin and others a week before the May 12, 2008, immigration raid at the plant to buy fake identification documents for 19 employees.
Chief Judge Linda Reade sentenced Beebe to the maximum prison time according to the guideline range. She said Beebe waited to plead guilty until after Rubashkin was convicted and other managers pleaded guilty, and he didn’t cooperate with the government as the other managers.
“It’s clear he was aware of the situation because of his actions on the eve of the immigration raid,” Reade said.
He attempted to circumvent the law by participating in getting fraudulent documents to the workers, Reade said. Officials of Agriprocessors knew the company was a likely target as immigration agents were preparing for the raid, she said.
Beebe admitted at the January hearing to obtaining $4,500 in cash from Rubashkin to pay for the documents. A line supervisor used the money to buy the documents, which were delivered to Agriprocessors on May 11. The documents were used to complete new application paperwork.
Beebe declined to speak at the hearing.
Ray Scheetz, Beebe’s attorney, asked the court for a downward variance in the guideline range to give Beebe probation. Beebe’s lack of criminal history doesn’t warrant the maximum prison time.
“Mr. Beebe is a candidate for probation because he has been under supervision for 20 months now with no problems,” Scheetz said. “I would ask for probation with two years of supervised release.”
Scheetz said Hershey Friedman, CEO of Agri Star, formerly Agriprocessors, wrote a letter to the court in support of Beebe and his character. Friedman said the beef side of the company would suffer if Beebe, who remained beef operations manager for Agri Star, had to leave his job to serve a prison term, Scheetz said.
Scheetz said Beebe also cared for his employees and always tried to help them whether it be in a financial way or otherwise.