SK Foods Exec Pleads Guilty To Price-Fixing

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say a former vice president of a Monterey-based tomato processor is pleading guilty to participating in a conspiracy to drive up food prices nationwide.

Jeffrey Sherman Beasley was charged with conspiracy in a Sacramento federal court last week. He agreed Tuesday to plead guilty and cooperate with an investigation into his former employer, SK Foods.

The 63-year-old Beasley is accused of taking part in a scheme to bribe purchasing managers of major food companies to buy tomato products at inflated prices. SK Foods grows and processes products like tomato paste and diced tomatoes, 95 percent of which are processed in California.

Former SK broker and director Randall Lee Rahal and purchasing managers from Kraft Foods Inc., Frito-Lay Inc. and B&G Foods Inc. already have pleaded guilty in the case.

More in Operations