Settlement made in grocer fraud case
DALLAS (AP) - A Houston businessman, along with related
individuals and companies, has agreed to pay $15 million to settle
allegations that his grocery company made false claims about food
it shipped to U.S. troops in the Middle East.
Federal prosecutors said Friday that Samir Itani, who owns
American Grocers Ltd., pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of
conspiring to defraud the government by submitting false claims. He
has not yet been sentenced.
The government alleged that Itani and American Grocers added
bogus trucking and inflated costs to invoices submitted to the
government's prime food vendor, falsified health certifications and
certificates guaranteeing that certain meat products conformed to
Islamic religious requirements.
The government also accused Itani of directing his employees to
alter the shelf-life on some food products for the troops, making
them appear fresher than they were.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)