Blue Bell’s Former CEO Pronounced Free on $50,000 Unsecured Bound
The former CEO of Blue Bell Creameries, of three years, Paul Kruse, was charged with several allegations in relation to the Blue Bell listeria outbreak of 2015, which resulted in three fatalities from the ten confirmed cases of listeriosis. The 17-page indictment accuses Kruse and other Blue Bell Creameries’ executive management of willful ignorance and deception in relation to the unsanitary conditions of the Blue Bell factories, since as early as 2010.
Paul Kruse was charged with one federal count of conspiracy and six counts of federal wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for Western Texas in Austin, on May 1, 2020. The maximum sentence and fine for these charges is 20 years in prison and $250,000.
A recent document released by the U.S. District Court for Western Texas in Austin declared Paul Kruse free on the condition of a $50,000 unsecured bail. Under the authority of Federal Magistrate Judge Mark Lane, Paul Kruse was immediately released from jail after the court reached the conclusion of the defendant’s case.
In a separate lawsuit, Blue Bell Creameries (now under different management) has agreed to plead guilty to the charges placed against the company and pay a settlement of over $19 million. This hefty settlement is composed of two parts. The first is in response to the two misdemeanor counts for distributing and selling adulterated products in full knowledge. These allegations will be settled through a fine and forfeiture of $17.25 million from Blue Bell Creameries. The second sum, $2.1 million, is a settlement in regards to the civil False Claims Act charge placed against the company, for the production and distribution of products under unsanitary conditions. In total, the settlements will cost Blue Bell Creameries over $19 million.
In a recent statement, Blue Bell explains that after the devastating 2015 listeria outbreak, their company has tightened up many important safety standards and precautions in order to avoid this from ever reoccurring. The statement explains that products must now be sent to third party testing facilities and be confirmed as safe before they are sent to retail stores for purchase. Additionally, with the help of local and federal agencies, the company has implemented new facility equipment, staff training, and safety procedures to insure the continued safety of their products in the future.