Southwest Minnesota farmer sentenced to jail for USDA farm loan fraud – InForum

MINNEAPOLIS — A Slayton resident was sentenced to 12 months in prison, three years on probation and $435,517.78 in restitution for converting collateral securing loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger’s press with the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to court documents, in October 2015, Mark Alan Engelkes, 54, pledged 15,641 bushels of soybeans as collateral to the US Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation in order to secure a loan of nearly $80,000. During the CCC loan application process, Engelkes agreed not to move or assign the collateral until the loan was repaid in full.

However, in April 2016, USDA officials learned that Engelkes had withdrawn the pledged grain without prior approval and sold it. In addition to the USDA CCC loan, Engelkes also defaulted on other USDA agricultural financing, resulting in a total loss to the government of $435,517.78.

On October 21, 2021, Engelkes pleaded guilty to one count of USDA CCC crop conversion. He was sentenced on April 1, 2022, by Chief U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Middlecamp and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary Taylor .

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