Blakely Man Pleads Guilty in Peanut Salmonella Outbreak

| May 9, 2014

Salmonella-GraphicALBANY, GA – The manager of a U.S. peanut processing plant that was linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak four years ago pleaded guilty Wednesday to seven criminal counts, including fraud.

Samuel Lightsey was the manager of Peanut Corporation of America’s plant in Blakely, Georgia, when an outbreak of salmonella traced to the company’s peanuts killed nine people and sickened hundreds in 2009. Lightsey and three others were later charged with scheming to manufacture and ship tainted peanuts.

Lightsey faces a possible fine of up to $250,000 and maximum prison terms of one to 20 years on each of the seven charges. Prosecutors recommended in a plea agreement that Lightsey serve no more than six years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.

The Peanut Corporation owner Stewart Parnell, his food broker brother Michael Parnell, and Georgia plant quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson are also being charged in the case.

The salmonella outbreak caused one of the largest recalls in history. The government filed criminal charges which is rarely pursued in food poisoning cases because intentional contamination is hard to prove.

The 76-count indictment charges the Parnell brothers and Lightsey with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and the introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. Stewart Parnell, Lightsey and Wilkerson were also charged with obstruction of justice.

Source: WCTV

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1 Comment on "Blakely Man Pleads Guilty in Peanut Salmonella Outbreak"

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  1. billeeg says:

    It’s a screwed up Gov that puts people in prison for “Weed” longer than for Murder and white collar crime…. Never Vote for person with ( I* ) beside their name….* I must mean IDIOT….