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Woman gets probation in connection to Nebraska Beef scheme to relabel meat

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A Council Bluffs, Iowa, woman has been sentenced to six months of probation and fined $1,000 for making a false representation of inspection and grading of agricultural products.

Dolese Tippery, who worked in the accounting department at Nebraska Beef, according to court records, pleaded guilty.

In information filed in 2020, federal prosecutors said she had aided and abetted in the false representation of 60 sides of beef as graded Prime quality by an inspector and grader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture when it had been graded as No-Roll.

The allegation dated back to 2016. But the scheme went back further.

In the plea agreement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Kleine said as early as 2012 boxes of beef processed at the main plant would be labeled initially with the correct grade, such as No-Roll and Select, then transported to an off-site warehouse, where employees "would remove original labels on the boxes of beef and replace them with higher-grade labels such as Choice and Prime. The relabeled product was then returned to the food-processing company and put into inventory."

He said employees, including Tippery, knowing that the relabeling was occurring, created false internal records to conceal the scheme.

"This allowed the food-processing company to realize greater revenues by selling lower-grade meat at higher-grade prices," the prosecutor said.

Kleine said on June 3, 2016, the USDA's Agricultural Market Service graders discovered at least 30 carcasses of beef graded a day earlier that appeared ungradable and designated as No-Roll because of their age that had what appeared to be USDA ink stamps designating it as Prime grade.

The beef processor was served with a grand jury subpoena and ordered to produce the grading records for June 2, 2016, and they were found to have been "fraudulently altered."

Kleine said Tippery learned the records had been altered by another employee — former chief financial officer James Timmerman, according to separate criminal information — but testified at a grand jury March 20, 2017, that the grading records had not been altered and that she was not told or made aware that the grading record had been altered after being directed to deny it by a corporate officer.

Chief Judge Robert Rossiter Jr. sentenced her Friday in Omaha.

Timmerman pleaded guilty to the same charge and got two years of probation and a $1,000 fine.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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