A grain elevator manager in Minnesota has been accused of treating himself to safaris with the millions of dollars he allegedly stole from the company over a period of 15 years. However, he recently decided to surrender to federal officials after being formally charged with mail fraud and tax evasion. He will reportedly plead guilty to the crimes in mid-February.
According to federal officials, the 56-year-old man used his elevator company position to write himself and third parties checks that were phonily represented as being used to purchase operating expenses, such as corn and soybeans. After writing the checks to himself, he allegedly cashed them and used the money to renovate his home and a cabin used for hunting. He is also accused of using the money to cover the costs of all-terrain vehicles, jewelry and exotic trips.
Prosecutors said that the man ended up writing over 100 checks and using the money for his personal expenses. In addition, he reportedly made several misrepresentations to his lender. The man also allegedly reported his income as being lower than what it actually was so that he would not have to pay as much in taxes.
Anyone accused of fraud in Minnesota has the right to go to trial to fight the charge. Prosecutors must prove the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt before a judge will hand down a conviction against the defendant. However, the defendant may decide that it is in his best interests to seek to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution if the evidence that prosecutors plan to present appears to be strong. A plea deal might offer a more lenient sentence than what would result from a guilty verdict at trial. Whether a defendant decides to go to trial or seek a plea deal, an attorney in Minnesota will push for the best outcome for him or her in light of the circumstances.