Men who allegedly took part in horse meat scam to return money to the government

Authorities in Brazil said on Tuesday that four men arrested in connection with the multimillion-dollar racket to sell tons of horse meat labeled as beef have sold off most of their assets to help…

Men who allegedly took part in horse meat scam to return money to the government

Authorities in Brazil said on Tuesday that four men arrested in connection with the multimillion-dollar racket to sell tons of horse meat labeled as beef have sold off most of their assets to help repay the millions they stole in the scam. A spokeswoman for Brazilian federal police said during a press conference that the suspects had initially reaped profit from the scheme by carrying out the fraud while in jail.

Now, the pair who bought their 30 luxury cars, four airplanes, 10 jewelry stores, 16 houses and a truck company all in exchange for assisting in the corruption and lying to Brazilian officials, have decided to “plead guilty” and return the stolen millions. The suspects had a “$20 million empire” behind them, according to prosecutors.

In the case of this alleged international criminal activity, the business was organized and controlled by a court-appointed intermediary, Fabio Paz, who had been registered by judges. The five men, who were arrested in late July, were allowed to hide their shares in farms, and they were also allowed to carry up to 20 kilograms of suspected horse meat, hidden in plastic bags, into their courts.

The New York Times reported last week that Paz had bragged to undercover investigators about his extensive security network, and he allegedly sold “a million bits of plastic” for payment at a “high price.”

Paz, who worked for authorities in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, had used false documents to register the farms and manure for the horses, so that Paz could collect bribes from those selling the meat. The sellers all allegedly claimed the horses were being trained for hunting and show events.

If convicted, all the men could face up to 36 years in prison.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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