A Houston-based food exporter has agreed to pay $15 million to settle charges that it sold outdated food products to U.S. military forces in Iraq, reports the Los Angeles Times. The firm, American Grocers, Ltd., along with husband-and-wife co-owners Samir Mahmoud Itani and Suzanne Itani, plus Samir Itani's brother Ziad, allegedly purchased deeply discounted food that were near or past their expiration dates, then relabeled them and sold them to the military for shipment overseas.
The Itanis deny any wrongdoing and say they only paid to avoid a lengthy court fight. They also have been barred from receiving and federal contracts in the future as part of the settlement. Samir Itani still faces sentencing for an unrelated criminal conspiracy charge for which he pleaded guilty in 2009.