Beef plant’s Hall gets lighter prison sentence

By Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal

OXFORD – Beef plant scandal kingpin Richard N. Hall Jr. will get out of prison sooner than his original sentence.

U.S. District Judge Neil Biggers reduced his sentence Tuesday from 96 to 64 months, 2 1/2 years after prosecutors asked for the change.

Biggers’ order cited the government’s assurances that Hall, 50, was of significant help in securing other guilty pleas, convictions and “recoupment” of state monies associated with the failed beef plant operation in Yalobusha County.

Hall was indicted in January 2006 and pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and money laundering.

While he awaited sentencing across 18 months, he reportedly helped prosecutors as they built other cases in the scandal.

The Clarksville, Tenn., man reported to federal prison in October 2007 and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons web site, is in custody in its McCreary, Ky., facility.

His original indictment accused him of devising a scheme to defraud the state of Mississippi and its agencies, as well as Community Bank and others of millions of dollars associated with construction of a beef processing plant.

The plant opened in August 2004 but lasted less than three months. In January 2005 Hall defaulted on a $21-million loan to Community Bank and the project went into foreclosure.

In June 2005, the state paid the bank on its guaranteed $34 million.

He faced up to 50 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

• For more details, read Thursday’s Daily Journal.