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Lebanese-owned firm sent expired food to U.S. combat troops

And gets a slap on the wrist from the DOJ. via LA Times – Texas businessman settles military food mislabeling case for $15 million

A Texas businessman has agreed to pay $15 million to settle federal allegations that he and his company cheated the government by selling old and potentially dangerous food to the U.S. military to supply combat troops serving in Iraq and elsewhere.

Prosecutors had alleged that Samir Mahmoud Itani and his company American Grocers Ltd. profited from the Middle East conflict by ripping off taxpayers and shortchanging U.S. soldiers in the mess hall. According to the government, Itani’s firm bought deeply discounted products whose freshness dates had expired or were nearing expiration. His workers then altered those dates and resold those supplies to the government for hefty markups, prosecutors alleged.

On Friday, Department of Justice officials announced that Itani, his wife, Suzanne, his brother Ziad and the company agreed to pay the penalty to settle the false-claim charges in this federal whistle-blower case.

Samir Itani could not be reached for comment. According to property records, he owns a $2.2-million, 9,931-square-foot mansion with two elevators in an upscale Houston neighborhood.

Prosecutors said that Samir Itani, 51, and a tightknit group of family and business acquaintances sold at least $36 million worth of mislabeled food products to the government.

The shopping list was long and included potato flakes, salad dressing, produce, peanut butter, lobster and hamburger patties, according to the federal complaint. The supplies flowed out of Texas and to bases across the Middle East from about 2003 to 2006 during the Iraq war.

As the U.S. military presence grew in the Middle East, Itani’s business boomed. American Grocers shipped so much stale merchandise that the company bought paint solvent by the barrel and set up assembly lines to wipe out the old labels to make room for the phony dates, according to the complaint.

The Justice Department did not say whether any troops were sickened by the food supplied by American Grocers, or whether any of the food companies that sold items to Itani knew of any wrongdoing.

What happened to the other $16 million taxpayer dollars?

Apparently it was the second time Samir Mahmoud Itani had duped the U.S. government – according to this FBI press release and indictment, unless they are one and the same. He was “charged in a 46-count indictment with conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims and with making false claims,” according to this DOJ press release.

www. latimes. com

Answer Question
 
SavageGrl

Asked by SavageGrl at 12:59 PM on Nov. 27, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 18 (6,045 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • why was he given a second shot?
    lovinangels

    Answer by lovinangels at 1:00 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • why was he given a second shot?

    ***

    I'll give you a hint, three words....Samir Mahmoud Itani

    Just sayin!
    LoriKeet

    Answer by LoriKeet at 1:07 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Any company that does this once should end up on the inside of a federal prison breaking rocks ~ for life. Making it mandatory would cut down a lot of federal waste all by itself.

    Those who want to feed our soldiers bad food should have to eat nothing BUT their own food, until it is all used up or they die of food poisoning/starvation (which would also save the cost of feeding them).
    Farmlady09

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 1:18 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • LOL! I like you Famlady!

    I'm sure there were cases of soldiers getting sick, but they couldn't prove it was from his food. And I'm sure he never once lost sleep over this. Another case of money talks, bullshit walks.
    Raine2001

    Answer by Raine2001 at 2:24 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • I'm sure somewhere out there, it's all Bush's fault.
    grlygrlz2

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 6:40 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • And Halliburton built defective showers that electrocuted our soldiers, and knowingly provided contaminated water. where's their punishment?
    autodidact

    Answer by autodidact at 8:13 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • FTA: "sold it to the U.S. military from 2003 to 2006 during the Iraq war."

    so it's Obama's fault, then? and Lori, why the crack about the guy's name?
    autodidact

    Answer by autodidact at 8:17 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Any company that does this once should end up on the inside of a federal prison breaking rocks ~ for life.


    so does that include Halliburton/KBR/Blackwater, Farm?

    autodidact

    Answer by autodidact at 8:20 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Hmmmmm, Food banks use expired foods all the time. I don't know how expired this food was but food does not immediately go bad on the expiration date. I'm not condoning it but I think the guy would have done better to just sell it to them without changing the dates (if he really did that). The problem here is the intent to mislead.
    itsmesteph11

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 8:44 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

  • Auto, I said 'any company'. Which word were you having a problem with?

    For the record, my loyalty is to the military ~ not the congress that handles the purse strings, not the CinCs that come and go, not the contracted companies.

    Farmlady09

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 9:19 PM on Nov. 27, 2010

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