HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that two brothers, Daniel Gutman, age 38, and Benjamin Gutman, age 38, both of Maryland, were indicted on November 18, 2020, by a federal grand jury on multiple conspiracy, false statement and wire fraud charges.
According to U.S. Attorney David J. Freed, Daniel and Benjamin Gutman are the owners of Gutman Brothers, LTD, a Baltimore, Maryland based cattle export business with farms in New Holland, Pennsylvanian and Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. They are charged in the indictment with conspiring with a veterinarian, Dr. Donald Yorlets, of New Oxford, Pennsylvania, to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the buyers of their cattle in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada and Qatar by submitting more than a thousand false bovine blood samples to a Harrisburg laboratory for bovine disease testing between November 2016 and February 2020.
The indictment alleges that Daniel and Benjamin Gutman and Dr. Yorlets routinely substituted the blood from cattle they knew to be disease free for the blood of larger numbers of untested animals in order to obtain the required Certificates of Health Inspection for all the animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires cattle who are transported in interstate and international commerce to be tested for various bovine diseases, including Bovine Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Bovine Leucosis, and Bovine Viral Diarrhea. Bovine Tuberculosis and Brucellosis are communicable diseases that can be transmitted to humans under certain circumstances.
The indictment also alleges that additional Unique Antibody Profile testing of some of the Gutman Brothers blood samples by a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed that only 122 of 1,069 samples were genuine.
While other bovine diseases are tested for by conducting a laboratory blood test, Bovine Tuberculosis is tested for by what is known as a Caudal Fold skin test. The indictment further alleges that Daniel and Benjamin Gutman did not conduct the skin test on a large number of animals but falsely represented to the government that they did.
Dr. Yorlets pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Labor in August 2020. He is currently awaiting sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Wilson. No date has yet been scheduled for the sentencing.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of the proceeds from many of Daniel and Benjamin Gutman’s sales to buyers in Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico and Qatar, an amount that exceeds $7 million dollars.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and the Department of Homeland Security. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kim Douglas Daniel and Ravi Sharma are prosecuting the case.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law for the charge of conspiracy is 5 years of imprisonment; the charge of wire fraud is 20 years of imprisonment for each count; and the charge of false statements is 5 years of imprisonment for each count, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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