According to court documents, in October 2015, Engelkes pledged 15,641 bushels of soybeans as collateral to Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) to obtain a loan of nearly $80,000. During the CCC loan application process, Engelkes agreed not to move or sell the soybeans until the loan was repaid in full. However, in April 2016, USDA officials learned that Engelkes had withdrawn the promised soybeans without prior approval and sold the bushels. 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.
Under the plea agreement, Engelkes acknowledged that his farm was in financial difficulty and determined that he had to sell his promised crops in order to pay off other accumulating debts. So he sold the beans to a local grain elevator and used the money to pay off other debts rather than the USDA.
This case is the result of an investigation by the US Department of Agriculture-Office of the Inspector General.
The U.S. District Court in Minnesota has had several cases involving farmers recently, including a Minnesota farmer last month who pleaded guilty to crop insurance fraud. (https://www.dtnpf.com/…)
Chris Clayton can be reached at [email protected]
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