Meat cheats! Sunset Park prime beef wholesalers embroiled in scandal
A newly-unsealed indictment reveals some major beef between the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York and A. Stein Meat Products, Inc., a Sunset Park-based meat distribution business that was once the subject on an ill-fated deal on CNBC’s reality show “The Profit.” According to the indictment, the business now stands accused of deliberately mislabeling meat products and selling them to New York City consumers with inflated price tags.
A. Stein Meat owned the brand Brooklyn Burger, which was the official stadium burger supplier for the New York Mets and Yankees, according to an episode re-cap. A deal between “The Profit” host Marcus Lemonis and co-owners Howard Mora and Alan Buxbaum ended in a lawsuit, with Lemonis alleging he paid $190,000 for the Brooklyn Burger brand and Buxbaum and Mora never turned over the rights.
Now Mora and Buxbaum are both facing charges of wire fraud for an alleged scheme that involved directing employees at their Sunset Park processing plant to re-brand USDA “Choice” beef products as higher quality “Prime” cuts using counterfeit stamps from the federal agency, according to the complaint.
Beef is evaluated by professional USDA graders, who assess the meat for subjective qualities like tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Prime beef is the top category, and comes from young, well-fed cows who produce lots of marbling, according to the USDA. Prime cuts are usually sold in restaurants and hotels. In fiscal year 2018, just over 7 percent of all beef evaluated by the agency received a “Prime” grade.