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Rubashkin Released on $1 Million Bail

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA [AP] — Sholom Rubashkin, former manager of the Agriprocessors plant in Postville and an officer in the company, was in federal court in Cedar Rapids this afternoon on criminal charges relating to the employment of illegal immigrants.

Rubashkin, 49, was arrested this morning. He faces federal charges of conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, aiding and abetting document fraud and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft, according to documents filed in the case.

At the hearing, Rubashkin waived his right to a preliminary hearing and also declined to comment.

He did not enter a plea, but his attorney said Rubashkin would plead not guilty at his arraignment.

Rubashkin was released, after agreeing to surrender his passport and the passport of his wife, to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, restrict his travel to the northern district of Iowa and execute a $1 million bond, $500,000 of which must be secured by Wednesday.

Prosecutor are concerned Rubashkin could be a flight risk. Because of his access to substantial assets, federal prosecutors worked with Rubashkin’s attorney, F. Montgomery Brown, to set conditions.

Brown declined to comment on specifics of the criminal complaint, but said it appeared the government intended to move up the chain of command with charges.

Rubashkin, 49, is the son of the company’s president and principal owner, Aaron Rubashkin.

The kosher slaughterhouse was raided by federal immigration agents in May, when 389 people were arrested in what was then the largest single-site immigration raid.

According to the federal affidavit, immigration agents said they seized dozens of fraudulent permanent resident alien cards during the raid at the plant.

It said an unnamed witness, whose responsibilities at the plant included safety orientation for new employees, told agents Rubashkin has asked her or him to train a large number of new employees on the Sunday before the raid, instead of a Tuesday, when training normally took place.

Another witness, identified as Subject A, said he or she was called in to process and hire new employees on the same Sunday. The witness said in the affidavit that he or she noted that a group of applicants had resident alien cards that appeared to be new, but the witness believed the group may have been current employees who were supposed to have been fired the previous Friday.

That witness claimed Rubashkin looked at the IDs and said they “looked good to him.”

Another witness, a former supervisor in the beef kill area, said in the affidavit that he or she met with Rubashkin in a barn area of the plant the week before the raid. The witness told Rubashkin that $4,500 was needed to help employees fired from the witness’ department because they had bad papers. Rubashkin apparently asked if the money had to be in cash and the next morning agreed to loan it. Later in the day another employee gave the witness the cash.

That witness said he or she then gave money to employees to purchase new identification documents. The new documents were obtained and given to up to 40 employees a day before the raid, according to the affidavit.

Earlier this week, Laura Althouse, a human resources employee with Agriprocessors, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor undocumented immigrants for financial gain and aggravated identity theft. Trial is scheduled for Nov. 17 for another human resources worker, Karina Freund.

Two of the plant’s meatpacking supervisors also faced federal immigration charges.

Martin De La Rosa-Loera pleaded guilty under an agreement with prosecutors to aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented immigrants. Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to hire illegal immigrants and one count of aiding and abetting the hiring of illegal immigrants.

In September, the owner and managers of the plant, including Sholom Rubashkin, were charged with 9,311 misdemeanors alleging they illegally hired minors and let children younger than 16 handle dangerous equipment. The complaint filed by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office said the violations involved 32 illegal-immigrant children younger than 18, including seven who were not yet 16.

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#1 Comment By oy gevalt On October 30, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

There are literally thousands of businesses in America with illegal immigrant workers. Why target Agriporcessors? The anti-Semites will stop at nothing to destroy the Rubashkins.

Sholom Rubashkin is a good yid and a generous one too. The entire Jewish community must stand behind him in support, or your business may be the next one they target!

#2 Comment By sarah On October 30, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

hashem should watch over him and his fmaily-they don’t deserve this!

#3 Comment By Pinchos Woolstone On October 31, 2008 @ 12:35 am

we must all pray for his well being
May HaShem in his mercy bring the Rubashkin family through this ugly anti semitic purge speedily and completelyP

#4 Comment By Discrimination On October 31, 2008 @ 12:44 am

Ther are over 12 million Illegal Imagrents in the US. With a half milion comming every year. They work all over. But they pick on the jews. We have to do something. This is wrong. Hey Feds, nothing to do? Why? Is there no drug traficking, terror plots or violent crimes to monitor?

#5 Comment By concerned On October 31, 2008 @ 1:23 am

rubashkins: what can we as a kehilla do to help? hashem Yerachem!

#6 Comment By friend On October 31, 2008 @ 12:07 am

Rabbi Rubashkin and his dear wife are pillars of the jewish community, they have given generously to many many important causes and have dedicated their lives and open their homes so that they may help others in need. Rubashkin’s! we stand behind you, and pray for the truth to be seen clearly for all. You are in our thoughts.

#7 Comment By Rubashkin consumer On October 30, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

Let this come to a positive end quickly and end this chillul Hashem!!

#8 Comment By Jose Bard-Wigdor On October 30, 2008 @ 10:55 pm

Like in Agri, are thousands of bussiness that mexicans and central american are working ellegally, they too have to survive, they need their jobs, and the american people benefit from their work too, because americans dont want to work with minimun wages.
It is unfortune that Rabbi Rubashkin have to go trough all this garbige, He doesnot deserve it, My support is with you, even though that doesnt help you in any matter, G-d bless you, and for shure G-d will hear our prayers. G-od Bless.

#9 Comment By good luck On October 30, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

Im willing to give money to help bail him out where can i send it to?

#10 Comment By mendel On October 30, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

why was the bail set so high?

#11 Comment By a person On October 30, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

Sick country, any one who is messing with the Rubashkins is messing with the pupil of Hashem’s eye and they should have misa meshuna

#12 Comment By Oy Oy Oy On October 30, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

Seven years the government is looing for Bin Laden. I guess Shalom Mordeche is a good consolation prize. Shame shame on the U.S. government.

#13 Comment By malka On October 30, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

Sholom Mordechai is such s good person and his family are the nicest people on earth, may Hashem help, this is an example of Tzaddik ve ra lo! May Hashem have mercy!

#14 Comment By ACTION On October 30, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

What can we do?

#15 Comment By sad On October 30, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

this makes me very sad. ad mosai. we need moshiach now. he is such a young man and to be going through such a tragedy is heartbreaking. may hashem send him lots of stregth to edure this and hatlacha. may he pull through this one and continue in his righteous ways.

#16 Comment By A shande On October 30, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

they are a bunch of anti semites. they hovered over his house via helicopter and cuffed and shackled himn. Excessive. let them target terorist cells instead!

i think we in crown heights need to come up with ideas. It’s mamesh Pidyon shivuyem

#17 Comment By postville On October 30, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

What we did or what we are doing in order the stop or try to minimize the damage do to the rubashkins , the jewish familys living in postville ?
& to the price of meat that we will have to pay now?
Any one made a phone call, send a letter to senators or any thing like this?

We have to do more than just feeling sorry for the rubashkins

#18 Comment By MADD On October 30, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

jews are massering jews all over the place goyim are massering jews all over the place it’s all a tumble is there a diffrence?

#19 Comment By Rubashkins help so many in a quiet way On October 30, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

I stand behind the Rubashkins.
May Hashem spare their family any more tza’ar and bestow them with good in an open and revealed way.
This is a family that has helped thousands of people-litterally!
We all need to daven that everything should be ok-Moshiach NOW!!!!
The money they are loosing from this and the money that they need to spend for lawyers is much better off spent going to Tzedaka. Why Hahsem, WHY???
Hashem help this family that helps so many others!!!!

#20 Comment By Annoyed and perplexed On October 31, 2008 @ 10:14 am

Why did he have to surrender his wife’s passport? His I can understand legally but why did she have to surrender her passport? Is that normal?

#21 Comment By gayle770 On October 31, 2008 @ 9:59 am

I agree with oy gevalt – Rubashkins are not the only company to hire immigrants. Why is the gov. letting them in illegally to begin with and why is it his responsibility to screen them. This is definatley a conspiracy by the gov or the unions. They gov. is using him as a scapegoat. Hashem should help him and his family and all of K’lal Yisroel. Who can we contact to object to this?

#22 Comment By elliyahu On October 31, 2008 @ 8:33 am

Write to your local senator; there must be a strong voice heard from the Jewish community; this is a biased anti-Jewish tirade on behalf of FBI authorities… the same is with Jonathan Pollard… Jews are once again the scapegoats… May Hashem miraculously turn around this stupid escapade and bring a “Nes” to Rubashkin and his family and Jonathan Pollard once and for all!!!!!!!!!!!

#23 Comment By Mendel On October 31, 2008 @ 6:56 am

Enough with all these comments about anti-semitism. Lubavitchers have to lift their heads from the sand and realize that, as wonderful as they are to other yidden, Agriprocessors as a corporation was poorly run and irresponsible. I also like the family, but what the government did was not anti-semitic. All the flailing over this issue does not address the need for Jewish business people to act responsibly. It’s a good wake up call.

Crown Heights yidden should take the positive step forward, as the Rebbe told us, and work to help the yidden and goyim from Postville to relocate, rebuild their lives.

#24 Comment By Ezzie On October 31, 2008 @ 6:16 am

There are shluchim in every state, why arent they starting a letter writiing campaign to their Congressman and Senetors letting them know that this is a real injustice. How many shluchim have the Rubashkins helped throughout the years? Its about time that the shluchim give something back.

#25 Comment By sad On October 31, 2008 @ 8:31 am

The bail is set high because they view Shalom as a flight risk. He is also wearing a GPS tether and had to surrender his passport, as it stated in the article.
While the fact that Agri is run by Jews might be a factor in the government’s reaction, the cause is more than likely to be the large scale on which the immigrant infractions occurred. While the government looks the other way at ordinary housewives who hire illegal cleaning help, if someone has hundreds of illegals working for him, the government is bound to notice eventually. The same is true of tax fraud. The $18 check that was listed as a donation but really bought a box of Chanukah candles from the day school (and therefore not deductible) will probably not be noticed by the IRS. If the same is done with a very large amount, it will surely be noticed with all the repercussions that happen to all citizens.
We will all breathe a sigh of relief when Shalom Rubashkin is cleared of all charges and allowed to peacefully resume his life. The question remains though, is it possible to live a Jewish life legally? Can we keep kosher, have large families, have our own schools, etc., without committing fraud? Numerous articles both online and in papers have been printed about Yidden being caught in various types of government fraud. In many cases, fraud was committed to provide something to the Jewish community and was not done to get rich quick, nevertheless, the government cracked down on it. While this is not a reflection on the Rubashkins but more a reflection on the way that Jews have chosen to live in America, maybe this should be a wake-up call for all frum Jews.

#26 Comment By Noach On October 31, 2008 @ 10:58 am

This happened in parshas Noach. The Rubashkin family tried to save immigrant families by giving them jobs but they also may have made them lie, which is against the sheva mitzvos, to get false id’s. The union is violating the sheva mitzvos by stealing jobs from so many people and a business from a generous family. Through Noach’s actions, humans were given permission to eat meat-let’s hope the Rubashkin family will be able to provide the world with plenty of meat in the future.

#27 Comment By Careful with your words On October 31, 2008 @ 1:52 pm

Careful what u write:
Someone wrote:
”Sick country, any one who is messing with the Rubashkins is messing with the pupil of Hashem’s eye and they should have misa meshuna”

Unfortunately, some of the people responsible for what the Rubashkins are going through now are Yidden-they need to do a lot of Teshuva, and undo a lot of damage-but do not wish them a ‘misa meshuna’…that is a terrible curse to curse a Yid with

#28 Comment By debbie On October 31, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

Murderers get lower bail just for the record. That is why this is a disgrace. I am not from NY nor do I know these people but I hear wonderful things about this family. It is disgraceful and if anyone doubts that the “Jewish” factor is not the biggest factor here, then ya’all live in denial.

#29 Comment By a very upset and shocked person On October 31, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

this is the biggest piece of garbage i have ever heard
i have researched the bail for murderes and the highest i have seen was 100,000 and the lowest was 15,000.
why the helll is sucha good guy who helps so many poel being charged with 10 times the highest bail for murderers. if this was happening with target or walmart, the bail would never have been this high. and why do they have the right to take his passport! Sholom needs to get himself a good lwyer because he can and should fight this. no one should have the right to destroy someone like this. America is not about runining lives. This man was helping all the immigrants, he gave them better lives. America should focus on all the murderesr and terrorists that are running loose instead of on this man. If we all protest against this things will change. May everything get better for this poor man and his family!!! Moshiach NOW!!!

#30 Comment By Jack On October 31, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

When bail is set, the judge takes into account the assets of the defendant. Rubashkin has a lot of assets, and a lot of incentive to take off to Israel, so the court demanded a high price for bailing him out.

Murderers have lower bail because generally murderers come from lower income demographics that corporate defendants.

#31 Comment By Miley cyrus On October 31, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

Not that i don’t agree that this country is corrupt already. I mean we might as well go back in time and live on the lower east side in slums making a bock fifty a day

#32 Comment By let unite On October 31, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

what can we do as yidden to show unity ??????????

#33 Comment By concerned On October 31, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

It is unfortunate that our government chooses to tax it’s legal citizens to pay for health and human services of the illegal immigrants and then when a descent human being does it, albeit in a different manner by actually giving someone a job then it is illegal. When does,the government take some responsibility for this mess?

#34 Comment By gain On November 2, 2008 @ 7:15 am

only when it is the gain for this country they look the other way! what comes around goes around.i hope this country wont pay a high price for this doing!

#35 Comment By RS On November 2, 2008 @ 1:30 am

This article originally appeared In Pittsburgh’s Jewish Newspaper, The Jewish Chronicle
Agriprocessors defended; company deserves its day in court
by Rochel Shlomo1 month ago

America’s premier kosher slaughtering plant — Agriprocessors, a company which has worked tirelessly to bring affordable kosher meat and poultry to every far flung Jewish community, is under attack. The accusations throughout the media abound, and all seem to agree that something certainly is not “kosher.”

But there is a lot more that is “not kosher” going on.

For the past three years both PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the labor union United Food and Commercial Workers have been working around the clock, each with its own interests in mind, to destroy Agriprocessors. There never was a slaughtering plant that PETA loved, nor a factory, which resisted unionizing, that escaped the UFCW’s wrath, and so the same has been happening here.

This well-publicized smear campaign was taken to the national level. Then followed the unprecedented raid in May by federal immigration authorities, where workers were rounded up and thrown in jail without given due process.

And the outcries reached an even higher crescendo, but little for the legal and human rights of the poor workers. Only against Agriprocessors, despite the fact that they have answered many of the complaints leveled against them, such as hiring a qualified compliance officer, former U.S. Attorney Jim Martin, and professional OSHA specialists.

The key question is whether Agriprocessors was actually complicit in hiring illegal workers — an allegation the company firmly denies. They reported that applicants indicated a legal age and proof of citizenship on the papers they presented and that they had no reason or legal right to challenge the authenticity of those papers. This issue of hiring illegal workers is not unique to Agriprocessors, but is a national problem. There are approximately 13 million illegal aliens in this country and their labor fuels the economy of America, especially in states such as Florida, California and Arizona.

Two years ago, the world’s second largest nonkosher meat processing company, Swift and Company, was raided by the federal government and forced to close six of its plants. During this raid, however, the government took no action against the company management, in stark contrast to its treatment of Agriprocessors. Interestingly, it did not receive the media bashing that America’s No. 1 kosher meat packing plant has sustained.

But what is even more troubling is how so many Jewish and national publications have joined the chorus of accusations, despite the fact that the case has not even had its day in court. It is probable that some charges may ultimately prove correct, many of which Agriprocessors has already addressed.

But most will probably not hold up in court. The trumped up sum of over 9,000 child labor violations in fact is the product of the 32 underage employees multiplied by the number of days worked, making the violations appear grossly exaggerated. There is no evidence alluding to the alleged meth factory, or any records that indicate rabbis allegedly spent their time duct taping workers’ eyes. An officer conducting the raid found a mezuzah on a table and commented that there may be pipe bombs on the premises. The same workers who illegally deceived their employer by presenting false papers are the ones who now claim charges of abuse, in hopes of having their sentences commuted.

With 20 full-time USDA inspectors in the plant how could so many alleged infractions go on?

So something else is certainly “not kosher.”

Why has Agriprocessors taken more heat than Swift and Company or any of the others? Why has a kosher company been singled out in such an unprecedented way, when the entire meat industry employs illegals? Why is PETA and the media so aggressively focused on their case? Why all the uproar over Agriprocessors’ products to the point that organizations are proclaiming that they are “Rubashkin-free?” Shouldn’t we also stop purchasing products made in China, where we know that working conditions are substandard?

We are very close to Rosh Hashana, when we are reminded to not slander our fellow Jew, to judge another favorably and to assume innocence until proven guilty. This is the “ethical” and “kosher” Jewish way.

Agriprocessors has a “right” to their day in court. The fact that the company finds itself in this predicament today, may actually tell us as much about the accusers as the accused.

(Rochel Shlomo is co-owner of Sampo Distributors, the McKees Rocks-based distributor of kosher food