The seven are accused of signing audit confirmation letters that enabled the Columbia, MD-based unit of Dutch multinational Ahold to overstate its earnings and assets. In January, federal prosecutors in New York filed similar charges against nine other people who worked for vendors that supplied U.S. Foodservice.
Ahold admitted in 2003 that it overstated profit by 970 million euros ($1.28 billion), mostly related to promotional allowances at U.S. Foodservice. The company last year settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission without paying a fine, ending a 20-month investigation into accounting fraud.
"Each of the seven defendants allegedly signed audit confirmation letters that falsely and fraudulently overstated amounts either earned by or owed'' to U.S. Foodservice from the vendors, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said in a brief statement that was published by various news outlets.
The case has also led to charges against former U.S. Foodservice executives, including ex-Chief Financial Officer Michael Resnick and ex-marketing manager Mark Kaiser, according to the accounts. Their trial is scheduled for next year in Manhattan federal court. Other executives, including a company vice president and a purchasing manager, have pleaded guilty.
Garcia announced the new charges today against Brian Crowley, Robert Henuset, Ritchie Langfield, Frank Lysiak, Ernie Rosenberg, Dale Schulz, and Larry Stone. They worked for privately held companies from Massachusetts to Idaho that supplied vegetables, pasta, and dairy products to supermarket chains. They worked as independent food brokers, sales directors, and, in Stone's case, the owner of the company.