Lexington company indicted in scheme to ship cattle over state lines without inspection

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A cattle company based in Lexington has been indicted for allegedly moving cattle out of state without proper veterinarian inspection, according to court records and federal officials.

A federal grand jury indicted Eugene Barber & Sons, Inc., also known as Barber & Sons, on a count of conspiracy, a count of illegally moving cattle and a count of aiding and abetting a false statement, according to a news release from federal prosecutors.

Veterinarian John M. Moran, 64, of Flemingsburg was also indicted in the case and is facing a charge of conspiracy, a count of aiding and abetting illegally moving cattle and a count of making a false statement, according to a news release.

When cattle are being moved over state lines, a veterinarian must certify that the cattle have been inspected for signs that they could be infected or carrying a communicable disease, according to the indictment.

In court records, Moran is accused of pre-signing the paperwork certifying that cattle sold by Barber & Sons were safe without ever inspecting them. Barber & Sons is accused of paying Moran $10 for every pre-signed certification, according to the indictment.

Between 2013 and 2015, Moran allegedly falsified 600 certifications for Barber & Sons, for the shipment of more than 60,000 cattle over state lines, according to court records. Moran was paid over $19,000 by Barber & Sons, according to the indictment.

The president, vice president and secretary of Barber & Sons, Gene Barber, Larry Barber and Austin Paul, respectively, are listed with the secretary of state’s office as being members of the Blue Grass Stockyards, LLC. The stockyards are not mentioned in the federal case involving the Barbers.

The Blue Grass Stockyards, which used to be located on Lisle Industrial Avenue, was moved to Iron Works Pike after the original location burned in February 2016 in a massive fire.

Jim Akers, chief operating officer for the stockyards, said Friday he knows “very little about” the indictment or federal investigation “because it doesn’t involve the stockyards.”

He didn’t anticipate that the indictment will affect the stockyards.

“I really don’t know of any reason why it would,” Akers said. “We haven’t had any big outcry of concern.”

Barber & Sons and Moran are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 21, according to federal prosecutors.

Smoke and fire rise along Lisle Industrial Avenue as the Blue Grass Stockyards burn around 2:30 p.m. in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

A fire on Jan. 30, 2016, at Blue Grass Stockyards consumed structures and produced huge clouds of smoke.