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Tomato tycoon's bail set at $6 million

Frederick Scott Salyer is accused of using bribery and fraud to sell inferior produce.

March 27, 2010|By Marc Lifsher

Reporting from Sacramento — A federal judge set bail at $6 million on Friday for tomato scion Frederick Scott Salyer, the former SK Foods owner charged with multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud.

Salyer would be confined to his Pebble Beach, Calif., home once he posts bail. The court order, which came over the objections of federal prosecutors, also requires him to wear an electronic monitoring device and to turn over to authorities his passport and airplane pilot's license.

Salyer, who was arrested Feb. 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, is accused of masterminding a scheme to defraud large food companies by bribing their employees to purchase inferior tomato products from his Lemoore, Calif., company.

Salyer, 54, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. Earlier this month, a federal magistrate denied his request for bail after declaring him a flight risk.

Before his arrest, Salyer had transferred large amounts of money to European and West Indian bank accounts and put down money on a condominium in the tiny principality of Andorra on the Spanish-French border. Andorra does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, prosecutors noted.

After another bail hearing Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton acknowledged his "anxiety concerning Mr. Salyer's being released on bail." But he stressed that bail would be appropriate if accompanied by a number of stringent conditions.

Karlton denied a request from prosecutors to stay the bail order.

Among other bail conditions, Salyer must submit to DNA testing and get approval from court officials before making any financial transactions.

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