Hall gets lighter sentence in beef flap

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Beef plant scandal kingpin Richard N. Hall Jr. will get out of prison sooner than his original sentence.
Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Neil Biggers reduced his sentence from 96 to 64 months, 2 and a half 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.
The beef plant, backed by the Mississippi Legislature and two state agencies, ran into trouble soon after Hall was given millions for the project.
Hall was indicted in January 2006 and pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and money laundering and to keeping $751,000 in public and corporate funds for himself.
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 website, is in custody in McCreary, Ky.
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.
Contact Patsy Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.