Crooked Tomato Kingpin Pleads Guilty

One rotten tomato
One rotten tomato Photo: Timm Williams via Flickr

Frederick Scott Salyer, the disgraced former owner of Monterey’s SK Foods who stands accused of rampant bid-rigging and price-fixing within the nation’s tomato industry, has plead guilty to charges of racketeering and price-fixing in federal court. At the height of his scheming, Salyer’s company controlled fourteen percent of the processed tomato market and rose to become the second biggest in the industry, during a period in which he now admits he bribed store managers at major grocery outlets and falsified lab reports on the safety and organic standards of SK’s tomato paste.

As part of his plea bargain, Salyer is giving up $3.25 million dollars from foreign bank accounts (he’s also up against a few lawsuits) and faces four to twenty years in prison for a scandal that involved players from Frito-Lay, Safeway, Kraft, and B&G; Foods. [AP; Earlier]