LAWFUEL – The US Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, David W. Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, and Lee Huttenbach, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Southeast Region, Office of Inspector General, announce that defendant Timothy Delong was sentenced today to fifteen (15) months in prison following his plea of guilty to charges of engaging in a scheme to defraud through the sale of adulterated foods, and a scheme to introduce 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. U. S. District Court Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley imposed the 15-month sentence and also ordered Delong to pay a fine of $5,000 and to pay restitution in the amount of $200,000 to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to be used to support its programs in the area of food safety. The sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release.
Count 1 of the Information charged Delong with engaging in a scheme to defraud the customers of Atlantis Foods, Inc., where Delong served as president, through the sale of adulterated prepared foods. Delong, through Atlantis, sold chicken salad, Maine lobster dip, salmon cream cheese, salmon spread, chicken salad with almonds and cranberries, and crab stuffing 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. Delong failed to notify his customers after learning of the contamination and did not initiate a recall of the products.
Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacterium that can cause listeriosis, a serious gastrointestinal infection resulting from the ingestion of food contaminated with the bacterium. Listeriosis can be serious and even fatal for high-risk groups such as infants, the elderly, pregnant women and those with impaired immune systems.
Count 2 of the Information charged Delong with the introduction into interstate commerce of misbranded food, namely “Smoked Rainbow Trout Spread,” between January 2002 and December 2003. According to court records, the spread, which listed trout as the first ingredient, was false and misleading in that the product in fact did not contain trout, but instead was made with tuna.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Southeast Region, Office of Inspector General, and the Food and 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 in the West Palm Beach U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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 http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/ .