UPDATE: Blue Bell Pleads Guilty To Distributing Contaminated Goods During 2015 Listeria Outbreak

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Former Blue Bell President and CEO Paul Kruse has been charged with conspiracy for the company’s handling for the listeria outbreak in 2015, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.

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Paul Kruse and other executives are said to have known about unsanitary conditions at the company’s Brenham headquarters and did nothing to stop them, according to a 17-page indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Travis County.

Kruse, who retired in February 2017, participated in a conspiracy to conceal “potential and/or confirmed listeria contamination in Blue Bell products from certain Blue Bell customers,” according to federal prosecutors.

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Kruse is charged with wire fraud/attempted wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Those charges each hold a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

According to the federal charges, the goal “was to obtain money from Blue Bell’s customers by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.”

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The company suffered significant financial losses due to the listeria outbreak.