Processing Magazine

Kraft buyer gets two years for role in tomato corruption

August 12, 2009

A former buyer for Kraft Foods Inc. will spend more than two years in jail for accepting bribes from a Central California supplier of the company''s tomato products, reported by the Associated Press. Robert L. Watson of White Plains, N.Y., is the first defendant sentenced in the widespread corruption case involving Lemoore, Calif.-based SK Foods. He pleaded guilty in federal court last January. Randall Lee Rahal, a former sales broker at SK Foods and the first person charged in the probe, pleaded guilty in December to racketeering, money laundering and antitrust charges. He was accused of paying Watson $158,000 to accept SK Foods products at inflated prices. Watson, who was senior purchasing manager for Kraft from 2004 to 2008, also must pay $1.8 million in restitution to Kraft. Four others are awaiting sentencing.