Exec Pleads Guilty in Tomato Price-Fixing Case

Feds squash tomato conspiracy

By Olsen Ebright
|  Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009  |  Updated 6:54 AM PDT
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Attack of the Killer Tomato Prices

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A former tomato exec pleads guilty in a scheme to inflate tomato prices.

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A former executive at a Monterey-based tomato processor has pleaded guilty for his role in a price-fixing scheme, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

As part of his plea, Jeffrey Sherman Beasley will work with investigators looking into his former employer, SK Foods, The Associated Press reported:

The 63-year-old Beasley is accused of taking part in a scheme to bribe purchasing managers of major food companies to buy tomato products at inflated prices. SK Foods grows and processes products like tomato paste and diced tomatoes, 95 percent of which are processed in California.
Former SK broker and director Randall Lee Rahal and purchasing managers from Kraft Foods Inc., Frito-Lay Inc. and B&G Foods Inc. already have pleaded guilty in the case.

Beasley was the highest-ranking insider to be charged in the investigation, the Sacramento Bee reported. He served as vice president for industrial relations from 2004 to 2008.

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