Former Agriprocessors manager gets 27 years in prison - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Agriprocessors manager gets 27 years in prison

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Former Agriprocessors manager Sholom Rubashkin was officially sentenced on Tuesday, to 27 years in federal prison. He was found guilty in November last year, of 86 counts of financial fraud and other offenses. Prosecutors say the sentence is fitting for the breadth of Rubashkin's offenses. But Rubashkin's supporters, family and defense attorneys say it's excessive.

"It's a shocking sentence," said Aaron Goldsmith. "It's not commensurate with what other people have gotten for these kinds of crimes."

That sums up what many supporters are feeling, after the 51-year old father of ten was sentenced. Rubashkin's wife Leah says it's extreme and unfair.

"Our reaction is, why does Sholom need to be treated differently than any other person in the United States of America?" she asked a crowd gathered outside the federal courthouse.

However, in an investigation that began more than two years ago, prosecutors say they uncovered criminal activities committed by Rubashkin, that justify the punishment.

"From failing to pay livestock suppliers on time, to sophisticated money laundering, to repeatedly obstructing justice," explained Bob Teig, with the U.S. Attorney's Office. "The jury found beyond a reasonable doubt  that Rubashkin knowingly and intentionally lied to a bank about the fact that illegal aliens were being harbored at Agriprocessors."

Prosecutors say the sentence emphasizes the importance with which the Federal Bureau of Investigation views white collar crime.

"It also shows the commitment of the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office, to addressing significant white collar crimes," said Special Agent Weysan Dun.

But if his defense attorneys have anything to say in the matter, Rubashkin may get another trial. They plan to appeal the court's decision as soon as possible.

"While this may appear to be the end of the case, it is not," stated Guy Cook, one of the attorneys. "It is indeed the beginning of the case. It's round one, if you will."

In the meantime, Rubashkin will be kept in custody in Cedar Rapids, until a facility better-suited to his cultural and religious needs is found.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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