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Paul Kruse, Ex-CEO of Bluebell Creameries Re-Indicted

10/26/2020

On October 21st, the Department of Justice indicted Paul Kruse, former president and CEO of Bluebell Creameries with seven counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  The allegations arise from the outbreak of listeriosis due to contaminated ice cream prepared in plants in Oklahoma and Texas during 2015.

 

The charges against Kruse arise from deception of consumers and directing employees to carry out a limited non-publicized recall of potentially contaminated products.  There is also evidence of concealment of Listeria contamination that under normal circumstances would have resulted in appropriate corrective action.


Paul Kruse in pre-Listeria days

 

In July, previous charges against Kruse were dismissed on a technicality.  Judge Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas granted a dismissal based on the fact that the Department of Justice indicted Kruse without him waiving his right to be indicted by a grand jury.  The Department of Justice possibly rushed the indictment before the statute of limitations could expire given that the listeriosis outbreak occurred four years earlier.

 

Bluebell Creamery pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of adulteration and paid criminal fines and forfeiture amounting to $17 million. 

 

The newly restructured company now has an emphasis on food safety and is functioning with the assistance of experts and consultants.