Former grain elevator manager pleads guilty to mail fraud, tax evasion

Former grain elevator manager pleads guilty to mail fraud, tax evasion Photo: KSTP

February 14, 2019 04:29 PM

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that a former grain elevator manager pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion.

Jerome Robert Hennessey, 56, entered the plea Thursday to one count each of mail fraud and tax evasion in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

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Prosecutors said from 2003 through September 2018, Hennessey, the former manager of Ashby Farmers' Co-Operative Elevator Company (the Co-Op) used his position and control over the Co-Op's bank accounts to write checks to himself and thrid parties for personal things, including renovations and improvements to his residence and a cabin, the purchase of real estate, the purchase of ATVs, outstanding credit card balances, property taxes, hunting trips and taxidermy services.

According to his guilty plea and court documents, Hennessey attempted to disguise the payments by writing descriptions on the carbon copies of the checks falsely indicating the checks were used to purchase corn and soybeans or other supplies and operating expenses, prosecutors said. He then gave those carbon copies to the Co-Op's bookkeeper to ensure the Co-Op's accounting records would reflect that the purchases were for legitimate purchases. Hennessey also obtained a credit line of more than $7 million to ensure the Co-Op had sufficient funds to cover the expenses.

Prosecutors said Hennessey stole $3,527,505 altogether.

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