Former Grocery Executive Admits to Falsifying ‘Bug Stamp’ on Wood Pallets

Jan. 19, 2010
Michael Sayklay, former vice president and warehouse manager of Economy Cash & Carry Inc., recently pled guilty in federal court to the felony charge of falsifying ISPM-15 compliance stamps, commonly known as “bug stamps,” on wood pallets.

Instead of transferring Mexico-bound food and pharmaceutical products from untreated pallets to pallets that were compliant with international phytosanitary requirements, Sayklay created a copy of a stamp used by a legitimate pallet treatment company. Sayklay reportedly affixed false stamps to hundreds of untreated domestic pallets so they could move across the U.S.-Mexico border.

When companies that received the pallets from Mexico sent them to the legitimate stamp owner for repair, the legitimate stamp owner noticed the falsification and notified the government. An investigation by the Department of Agriculture resulted in the seizure of fraudulently stamped pallets at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sayklay’s criminal violation of the Plant Protection Act occurred in March 2006. He will pay a fine of $8,000 dollars and serve probation. Economy Cash & Carry Inc. is a grocery wholesaler based in El Paso, Texas.