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March 24, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
A member of one of California's best-known farming families pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges related to a scheme to inflate the prices of tomato products. Frederick Scott Salyer, founder of Central Valley tomato processing company SK Foods, pleaded guilty Friday in Sacramento to racketeering and price-fixing charges. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Salyer faces four to seven years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 10. Salyer, 56, who lives in Pebble Beach, remains free on $6 million bail.
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BUSINESS
February 12, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A man who built one of California's most successful food companies was sentenced to six years in prison for scheming to inflate tomato prices and deceiving consumers about his products' quality. Frederick Scott Salyer, former owner of SK Foods, was accused of bribing buyers with companies such as Kraft Foods and Frito Lay to pay inflated prices for his tomato products, prices that were then passed along to consumers. He also instructed employees to write false reports about the tomatoes' quality, lying about mold content and whether the product qualified as organic, federal prosecutors said.
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BUSINESS
March 4, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher and P.J. Huffstutter
A federal magistrate in Sacramento denied bail Wednesday to tomato scion Frederick Scott Salyer, the former SK Foods owner who has been charged with multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud. Salyer, who was arrested Feb. 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, had asked to be released to his home in Pebble Beach, Calif., be monitored with an electronic anklet and be under other security restrictions. But U.S. Magistrate Edmund F. Brennan denied the request and sided with federal prosecutors, who sought to keep Salyer confined to the Sacramento County Main Jail.
BUSINESS
March 24, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
A member of one of California's best-known farming families pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges related to a scheme to inflate the prices of tomato products. Frederick Scott Salyer, founder of Central Valley tomato processing company SK Foods, pleaded guilty Friday in Sacramento to racketeering and price-fixing charges. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Salyer faces four to seven years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 10. Salyer, 56, who lives in Pebble Beach, remains free on $6 million bail.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter
A federal grand jury has indicted former SK Foods owner Frederick Scott Salyer on racketeering and six other counts of corruption for allegedly directing a decade-long scheme to quash competition and sell tomato products at inflated prices -- a practice that led to consumers paying more at the grocery store. Salyer, a member of one of the state's most powerful farming families, was accused Thursday of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, as well as conspiracy, obstruction of justice and four counts of wire fraud.
BUSINESS
February 8, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter
To his friends, Randall Lee Rahal was just a food salesman, someone who routinely left his home on Shadyside Road in Ramsey, N.J., to crisscross the country hawking California tomatoes. The 61-year-old sold them pureed. He sold them crushed. He sold them roasted and mashed into paste. His clients were food manufacturers, supermarket chains and other commercial buyers who turned his products into soup, ketchup and salsa. But in the eyes of the Justice Department, Rahal was Tomato Enemy No. 1 -- a produce scofflaw who allegedly peeled off $100 bills and carried cash-stuffed envelopes to bribe buyers from leading food companies in a decade-long racketeering scheme that may have led to higher prices for consumers at the grocery store.
BUSINESS
May 5, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Former tomato executive Frederick Scott Salyer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to antitrust charges filed by the federal government alleging a wider conspiracy to inflate prices for tomato products. The charges — part of a federal grand jury indictment unsealed last week in Sacramento — allege that Salyer conspired with others to fix prices or rig bids on moldy, overpriced tomato products that were sold to customers of his company, SK Foods. Nearly 95% of all tomatoes grown in the U.S. are processed by five companies in California, including SK Foods, which has two Central Valley plants.
BUSINESS
April 30, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Federal authorities filed new charges Thursday in their case against tomato scion Frederick Scott Salyer, alleging a wider conspiracy that set inflated prices for tomato products. The indictment charged Salyer, who had been head of agribusiness giant SK Foods, with five new felony counts and alleged that he conspired with others to fix prices or rig bids on products sold to three of the company's customers — McCain Foods USA, ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. Though the indictment doesn't name Salyer's co-conspirators, it could signal a push by the U.S. Justice Department to broaden its ongoing investigation into California's tomato processing industry.
BUSINESS
June 17, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Scott Salyer stepped into the federal courtroom in Sacramento, his trim frame swimming in an orange prisoner jumpsuit, his legs shackled, his wrists restrained. It was a humiliating moment in February for the 54-year-old agribusiness mogul, the last prince of one of California's cotton farming dynasties. The tomato processing outfit he started with his father, Fred Salyer, was in bankruptcy. Scott was being blamed for running SK Foods into the ground — and far worse. Salyer clenched his jaw as the prosecutor reeled off the allegations: that he and SK Foods tricked supermarkets and big food companies into buying substandard tomato products to put into brands found in almost every American cupboard.
BUSINESS
February 27, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher and P.J. Huffstutter
Former SK Foods owner Frederick Scott Salyer pleaded not guilty Friday to federal racketeering and corruption charges for allegedly directing a decade-long scheme to quash competition, pay bribes and sell tomato products at inflated prices. The agribusiness executive, who entered his plea in a federal courtroom in Sacramento, is charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, as well as conspiracy, obstruction of justice and four counts of wire fraud.
BUSINESS
March 23, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
A member of one of California's best-known farming families pleaded guilty Friday to federal criminal charges related to a scheme to inflate the prices of tomato products. Frederick Scott Salyer, founder of tomato processing company SK Foods, pleaded guilty in Sacramento to racketeering and price-fixing charges. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Salyer faces between four and seven years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 10. Salyer, 56, who lives in Pebble Beach, remains free on $6-million bail.
BUSINESS
July 20, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Defense attorneys for jailed tomato king Frederick Scott Salyer are seeking to discredit the government's case against him, accusing the FBI and its informants of a pattern of misconduct including theft, unconstitutional searches and destruction of key documents. The accusations — part of a series of documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento by Salyer's lead counsel, Malcolm Segal — attack the foundation of the years-long federal investigation of Salyer and his agribusiness empire.
BUSINESS
June 17, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Scott Salyer stepped into the federal courtroom in Sacramento, his trim frame swimming in an orange prisoner jumpsuit, his legs shackled, his wrists restrained. It was a humiliating moment in February for the 54-year-old agribusiness mogul, the last prince of one of California's cotton farming dynasties. The tomato processing outfit he started with his father, Fred Salyer, was in bankruptcy. Scott was being blamed for running SK Foods into the ground — and far worse. Salyer clenched his jaw as the prosecutor reeled off the allegations: that he and SK Foods tricked supermarkets and big food companies into buying substandard tomato products to put into brands found in almost every American cupboard.
BUSINESS
May 5, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Former tomato executive Frederick Scott Salyer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to antitrust charges filed by the federal government alleging a wider conspiracy to inflate prices for tomato products. The charges — part of a federal grand jury indictment unsealed last week in Sacramento — allege that Salyer conspired with others to fix prices or rig bids on moldy, overpriced tomato products that were sold to customers of his company, SK Foods. Nearly 95% of all tomatoes grown in the U.S. are processed by five companies in California, including SK Foods, which has two Central Valley plants.
BUSINESS
April 30, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Federal authorities filed new charges Thursday in their case against tomato scion Frederick Scott Salyer, alleging a wider conspiracy that set inflated prices for tomato products. The indictment charged Salyer, who had been head of agribusiness giant SK Foods, with five new felony counts and alleged that he conspired with others to fix prices or rig bids on products sold to three of the company's customers — McCain Foods USA, ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. Though the indictment doesn't name Salyer's co-conspirators, it could signal a push by the U.S. Justice Department to broaden its ongoing investigation into California's tomato processing industry.
BUSINESS
April 14, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter
A federal judge in Sacramento has denied another bid by tomato mogul Frederick Scott Salyer to be released on bail and ordered the defense team to stop filing motions on the matter. The decision Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton means that Salyer will remain in Sacramento County Jail for now. Last month, Karlton had set bail at $300,000 in cash and $6 million in property for Salyer, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple corruption counts as part of the federal investigation of defunct California tomato processor SK Foods.
BUSINESS
March 23, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
A member of one of California's best-known farming families pleaded guilty Friday to federal criminal charges related to a scheme to inflate the prices of tomato products. Frederick Scott Salyer, founder of tomato processing company SK Foods, pleaded guilty in Sacramento to racketeering and price-fixing charges. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Salyer faces between four and seven years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 10. Salyer, 56, who lives in Pebble Beach, remains free on $6-million bail.
BUSINESS
January 28, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
Federal prosecutors said buyers for Kraft Foods Inc. and Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo Inc., were pleading guilty to taking bribes from a California tomato processor. Robert Watson of White Plains, N.Y., a former Kraft senior purchasing manager, entered his plea in a Sacramento federal court to accepting $158,000 from a sales broker at SK Foods of Lemoore, Calif. The U.S. attorney in the case said James Wahl Jr., a former Frito-Lay purchaser from Dallas, also had agreed to plead guilty to accepting about $160,000.
BUSINESS
March 30, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter
A former Safeway Inc. employee was sentenced Tuesday to spend seven months in home detention in connection with the federal investigation of defunct California tomato processor SK Foods. Michael Chavez, 52, of Fremont had pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and accepting $5,000 in bribes from an official of SK Foods, which was based in Monterey. Chavez was a corporate purchasing manager for the Pleasanton, Calif., grocery chain from 2000 to 2007, and responsible for negotiating deals for processed tomato products, court documents said.
BUSINESS
March 27, 2010 | By Marc Lifsher
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.
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