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Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Two indicted for meat scam

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - Two people from Portland, Ind., were indicted on Tuesday with charges stemming from a 2009 investigation into the practices of VonderHaar Meat Market in Fort Recovery.
Darren M. Sain, 50, and LaDonna L. Williams, 51, were both charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second degree felony, and theft, a fifth degree felony. Sain and Williams managed the operation for owner John Bihn.
Bihn contacted the Mercer County Sheriff's Office on Feb. 13, 2009, after receiving complaints from customers, according to Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey. Sheriff's deputies obtained a search warrant and seized records from the business.
Investigators identified up to 76 victims, who reported meat shortages ranging from 20 pounds to several hundred pounds after they brought in animals for slaughter and processing. Some victims also claimed the meat they received tasted and smelled funny.
The investigation went from February to November 2009 and was presented to a Mercer County grand jury this month, according to the sheriff.
The charges state that on or about June 2008 through February 2009, the defendants conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of corrupt activity, a press release from the sheriff says. The second charge states that the defendants, during the same time period, deprived various customers, and the owner of property, of services and cash valued at $500 or more but less than $5,000 by deception.
"This was a very complicated, time consuming and frustrating case," Grey said in the press release.
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