Veterinarian Pleads Guilty to Helping Illegally Move 60,000 Cattle

A veterinarian in Kentucky has pleaded guilty federal charges for aiding a company in illegally moving cattle across state lines with fraudulent paperwork.

On Jan. 17, John M. Moran, 65, from Flemingsburg, Ky., entered a guilty plea before appearing before appearing for a federal grand jury in Lexington on Jan. 22. The jury trial has been subsequently canceled.

Moran faces up to five years of prison for a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Sentencing for Moran is scheduled for April 22 and will be made by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph M. Hood.

Eugene Barber & Sons, Inc. in Lexington, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud in November, according to the Lexington Herald LeaderSentencing is scheduled on Feb. 25 for the business' involvement.

Moran and Barber & Sons conspired to violate the Animal Health Protection Act, a regulation that is intended to protect the health and welfare of the public by preventing, detecting, and eradicating the spread of diseases in animals that are shipped within the United States. Under federal law prior to shipment across state lines cattle are required to be inspected by a veterinarian. Health certificates are then issued by the veterinarian attesting to the inspection with appropriate state authorities.

The indictment from the Department of Justice released on Sept. 6 alleged that Moran falsely certified inspecting cattle for Barber & Sons. Moran had in fact pre-signed the interstate certificate of veterinary inspection without inspecting the cattle.

It is alleged that from January 28, 2013 to September 25, 2015, Moran certified 675 false interstate certificates of veterinary inspection for shipment of more than 60,000 cattle. In exchange, he was paid over $18,750 by Barber & Sons.

Barber & Sons is a member of the Blue Grass Stockyards LLC, however the stockyards are not listed in the indictment. Barber & Sons is operated as a separate company from the stockyards.

During September when the case was announced, Blue Grass Stockyards chief operating officer, Jim Ackers, told the Lexington Herald Leader, that he knew little about the case “because it doesn’t involve the stockyards.”

The case was investigated by USDA and FDA.

For more on this case read the story from Drovers about the original indictment against Barber & Sons and Moran: