Tomato Scheme Goes Splat

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

A former California food company owner has pleaded guilty to racketeering in a national tomato price-fixing plot. The scheme made a victim of several major food companies including Omaha-based ConAgra Foods.

Frederick Scott Salyer entered the plea Friday in federal court in Sacramento. The 56-year-old is scheduled for sentencing July 10 and remains free on $6 million bail.

Salyer was charged with bribing purchasing managers to buy tomato products from his company, Monterey-based SK Foods.

Prosecutors say he fixed prices and rigged bids for the sale of tomato products to McCain Foods USA Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc.

He pleaded guilty to two charges: racketeering and price fixing. The charges carry maximum 20-year prison sentences, although Salyer is expected to face four to seven years behind bars.

Prosecutors say 10 other food company representatives were convicted.

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