LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswirre – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Lee Huttenbach, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Agriculture, Southeast Region, Office of Inspector General, and David Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, announced that defendant Timothy Delong entered a guilty plea on July 26, 2007 to a two-count Information charging him with engaging in a scheme to defraud through the sale of adulterated foods and the introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. § 1341, and 21 U.S.C. §§ 331(a), 333(a)(2), and 343. No date for the sentencing hearing has been set yet by United States District Court Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley.
Count 1 of the Information charged Delong with engaging in a scheme to defraud the customers of his company, Atlantis Foods, Inc., f/k/a Culinary Designs, d/b/a Atlantis Foods (“Atlantis Foods”), through the sale of adulterated prepared foods, specifically chicken salad, Maine lobster dip, salmon cream cheese, salmon spread, chicken salad with almonds and cranberries and crab stuffing, all of which contained the harmful bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Delong was president of Atlantis Foods, which on six occasions in 2003, allegedly produced and distributed food products containing Listeria monocytogenes. According to the Information, Delong failed to notify his customers after learning of the contamination and did not initiate a recall of the products.
The Information further charged that while Delong was president of the company, Atlantis Foods did not advise its customers that it shipped and distributed its products in interstate commerce prior to obtaining the results in-house or outside laboratory testing for pathogens. Atlantis Foods also did not advise that it had received positive Listeria monocytogenes results on products previously shipped and distributed to its customers.
Count 2 of the Information charged Delong with introducing and causing the introduction into interstate commerce of a misbranded food, namely “Smoked Rainbow Trout Spread,” between January 2002 and December 2003. The Information alleged that the Smoked Rainbow Trout Spread, which listed trout as the first ingredient, was false or misleading in that the food product in fact did not contain trout but instead was made with tuna.
Delong faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment as to Count 1, and up to 3 years imprisonment as to Count 2. Delong also faces fines of up to $250,000 and court-ordered restitution as to each of the two counts.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture, Southeast Region, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, for their work in the case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lauren Jorgensen and Ellen Cohen.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.