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Former Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse Charged With Conspiracy Related To Deadly 2015 Listeria Outbreak

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.

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.

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."

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

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