Murray County farmer sentenced for USDA loan fraud

A southwest Minnesota farmer has been sentenced to prison for farm loan fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 54-year-old Mark Alan Engelkes, of Slayton, put up 15,641 bushels of soybeans as collateral to the U.S Department of Agriculture in 2015 in order to get an $80,000 loan. As part of that process, he agreed to not move or dispose of those soybeans until the loan was fully repaid.

However, around six months later, USDA officials learned that Engelkes had sold the soybeans and had also defaulted on other federal farm finances.

Prosecutors say the actions cost the government a total of $435,517.78.

Engelkes pleaded guilty to the conversion of USDA Commodity Credit Corporation crops and was sentenced Friday to 12 months in prison, which will be followed by three years of supervised release. He’s also been ordered to repay the total amount of money lost by the government.