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Fraud Friday – The Case of the Missing Cow Herd

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July 19, 2013

CowHerdBy Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

Today’s fraudster comes from an unlikely fraud bucket – veterinarians.

Small business loans to veterinarians perform much better than other loans. In fact one SBA lender started their business by only making loans to this industry.

The Oklahoma vet received one year and a day in prison for taking loan funds earmarked for 70 head of cattle and covering a margin call.

Says the FBI, “Sturgeon is a large animal veterinarian who operates the Washita Veterinarian Clinic and lives in Cordell, Oklahoma. Sturgeon also bought and sold cattle as a manager partner of 20/20 Cattle and Consulting LLC and S&D Cattle LLC. According to an information filed on February 21, 2013, from December 2007 through December 2008, Sturgeon secured several loans based on a revolving line of credit extended by Bank of Cordell. Under the loan agreements, loan advances were to be used by Sturgeon for the purchase of cattle which served as collateral for the loan funds advanced. Proceeds from the sale of the cattle were to be used by Sturgeon to pay off the loans owed to Bank of Cordell. During this same time, Sturgeon had two commodities trading accounts with R.J. O’Brien (RJO), a commodities firm located in Chicago, Illinois, that he used to make trades in agricultural commodities.

“In 2008, RJO required Sturgeon to make certain deposits in his trading accounts to meet margin calls. During the plea hearing today, Surgeon admitted that on August 6, 2008, he represented to the Bank of Cordell that he needed a loan advance of $36,000 to purchase 70 head of cattle for the purpose of influencing the Bank of Cordell to advance him the loan. However, Sturgeon admitted that the loan was not used to purchase cattle and his statements were falsely made so he could fraudulently divert loan funds to make margin calls on the two RJO commodities accounts”

He was also ordered to pay $893,000 in restitution.

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