Two Sunset Park meat purveyors face up to 20 years behind bars for pasting fake labels on their low-grade beef products to inflate their prices, authorities announced on Monday.
Howard Moya, 68, and Alax Buxbaum, 66, plead guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Monday. Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a criminal forfeiture of $250,000, a spokesperson for the Eastern District of New York said.
The co-owners of the wholesale meat processing and distribution company, A. Stein Meat Products, admitted directing their employees between 2011 and 2014 to remove the “Choice” quality stamps from their beef products and replace them with counterfeit “Prime” stamps, indicating a higher grade.
The owners used the fake label to sell the meat at an inflated price throughout the metropolitan area, prosecutors said.
“Mora and Buxbaum rang up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent profits by charging customers more than the defendants’ products were worth, and now they will pay a price for their avarice,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme.
The guilty plea comes one year after federal officials arrested and indicted the defendants with the charges.
The incident isn’t the butchers’ first run-in with the courts. In 2014, the host of the CNBC reality show “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis, sued the duo, claiming he had paid them $190,000 following their appearance on his show in exchange for the their “Brooklyn Burger” brand, and that they had refused to turn over the rights. The case was dismissed, the Daily News reported.