Former tomato industry leader Scott Salyer is scheduled to be in federal prison before most of the defendants convicted in his food-industry corruption case are sentenced.
A federal judge in Sacramento on Tuesday delayed sentencing for six former SK Foods employees and two food company buyers who pleaded guilty in 2009 and 2010 to a variety of charges.
Earlier this month, Salyer, 57, of Pebble Beach, drew a six-year prison sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton on racketeering and price-fixing charges uncovered during a five-year investigation of his SK Foods companies. He is to report to prison officials on April 9.
Federal authorities said Salyer's company embraced a number of disreputable practices — bribing customers, trying to rig bids and falsifying quality grades — to sell millions of dollars worth of processed tomatoes and become an industry leader.
Two defendants in the case, Robert Watson, 63, of White Plains, N.Y., and Michael Chavez, 55, of Monterey, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from an SK Foods broker and were sentenced in 2009 and 2010. Watson received a 27-month prison term while Chavez was put on home confinement for seven months.
The remaining unsentenced defendants include two prominent figures in the case — former SK Foods sales broker Randall L. Rahal, 64, of Ramsey, N.J.., and Anthony Ray Manuel, 60, of Turlock, an SK Foods executive who became a key informant after he was caught
Others facing May and June sentencing dates are James R. Wahl, 61, Dallas; Jennifer L. Dahlman, 51, Lemoore; Robert Turner, 62, Randolph, N.J.; Jeffrey S. Beasley, 59, Oroville; Alan S. Huey, 56, Monterey; and Steven J. King, 49, Visalia.
Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.