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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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TAMPERING CONVICTION

FDA Veterinarian Newsletter September/October 2000 Volume XV, No. V

On September 14, 1999, Brian W. "Skip" Lea was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin on two counts of product tampering in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., 1365(b). The indictment alleged that on two occasions, Lea contaminated consumer products intended as ingredients in animal feed processed by the National By-Products, Inc. The contamination forced the company to recall products and to destroy raw material. According to NBP, its losses stemming from the contamination exceeded $2.5 million.

This investigation began in January 1997, after the Berlin Police Department, Berlin, Wisconsin, received a letter of sabotage. In this first tampering incident, several hundred pounds of the banned pesticide (Chlordane) was placed in tallow and bone meal produced by National By-Products (NBP). In a second tampering incident, another pesticide was put in grease containers owned by NBP. During the course of this investigation, special agents of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations conducted approximately 200 interviews and executed three Federal search warrants.

On April 3, 2000, Lea’s trial began in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI. On April 13, 2000, the jury returned a guilty verdict to the charge of tampering.

Brian Lea was sentenced on July 28, 2000, to 3 years incarceration, to be followed by one year supervised release, and a restitution of $2.2 million to be paid at a minimum of $100 a month.

This investigation was conducted by the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, Chicago Field Office, and was prosecuted by the Office of the U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI. The Minneapolis District Office, in conjunction with CVM's Division of Compliance, assisted the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection in the recall of the tainted product.