Former beef plant operator pleads guility in federal probe
by John Gregerson
Canadian Cattleman’s Association
Former beef plant operator Richard Hall Jr. has pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and money laundering related to the failure of the state-backed processing facility in north Mississippi, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee said Hall entered the plea Wednesday in federal court in Oxford. He said the plea agreement calls for an eight-year prison term.
Hall also pleaded guilty to three state counts of mail fraud in Yalobusha County Circuit Court, said District Attorney John Champion. Champion said prosecutors have agreed to another eight-year sentence on the state charges.
No date has been set for sentencing.
The $43.5 million processing plant opened in August 2004 with 400 workers but closed three months later because of equipment failure. Citing inadequate cash flow, former owner Hall defaulted on a $35 million state-guaranteed loan.