September 6, 2018: Cattle Company and Veterinarian Indicted for False Health Certificates on Livestock
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A veterinarian and a cattle company were indicted today for using false interstate certificates of veterinary inspection, to ship tens of thousands of cattle interstate, in violation of federal law.
Robert M. Duncan Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; William Swartz, Area Director, United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service; and Mark McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, made the announcement.
A federal grand jury in Lexington returned an indictment charging Eugene Barber & Sons, Inc. (“Barber & Sons”), a cattle company based in Lexington with one count of conspiracy, one count of moving cattle in violation of federal law, and one count of aiding and abetting a false statement. The indictment also charges veterinarian John M. Moran, 64, of Flemingsburg, Kentucky, with one count of conspiracy, one count of aiding and abetting moving cattle in violation of federal law, and one count of making a false statement.
The indictment alleges that Barber & Sons and Moran conspired to violate the Animal Health Protection Act, which protects the health and welfare of the public by preventing, detecting, and eradicating the spread of diseases in animals that are shipped within the United States. Federal law requires that an accredited veterinarian inspect cattle prior to their shipment, and then file certificates attesting to that inspection with appropriate state authorities. The indictment alleges that Moran falsely certified he had inspected the cattle Barber & Sons had shipped, when in fact he had merely pre-signed the interstate certificate of veterinary inspection without inspecting the cattle. According to the indictment, between January 28, 2013 and September 25, 2015, Moran certified at least 600 false interstate certificates of veterinary inspection for shipment of more than 60,000 cattle. In exchange, he was paid over $19,000 by Barber & Sons.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The USDA and FDA are investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate K. Smith is prosecuting the case. The Defendants’ initial appearance on the indictment is currently scheduled for September 21, 2018, at 10:30 a.m., in Lexington.