Ex-SK Foods CEO Salyer Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Ex-SK Foods LP Chief Executive Officer Frederick Scott Salyer was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to bribing customers and selling goods containing illegally high levels of mold.

A federal grand jury in 2011 returned a seven-count indictment against Salyer, alleging that from 1990 to 2008 he orchestrated schemes to pay bribes to purchasing managers for customers including Kraft Foods Inc. and Frito-Lay Inc. to ensure they bought products from SK Foods, a tomato processor. Salyer pleaded guilty March 23 to racketeering charges in federal court in Sacramento, California.

At Salyer’s direction, SK Foods employees falsified documents concerning percentages of natural tomato solids, mold counts and production dates for the Lemoore, California-based company’s products, according to the plea agreement.

“Scott Salyer used bribery and fraud to deceive his customers about SK Foods’ products in order to maximize his profits,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner in Sacramento said today in a e-mailed statement.

SK Foods customers paid inflated prices for tomato products and millions of pounds of substandard merchandise was shipped because of the company’s conduct, which didn’t create a health hazard for consumers, according to prosecutors. Nine individuals employed by SK Foods or its customers previously pleaded guilty as part of a government probe, prosecutors said.

Brian Ferrall, Salyer’s lawyer, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The case is U.S. v. Salyer, 10-00061, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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