OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
FEBRUARY 11, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RANCH HAND PLEADS GUILTY TO BANK FRAUD
IN FALSE CATTLE THEFT CLAIM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Clever, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a bank fraud scheme related to a false cattle theft claim.
Jesse D. Rice, 56, of Clever, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this morning to the charge contained in an Oct. 14, 2009, federal indictment.
Rice worked as a ranch hand at Poco Cala Ranch in Clever. Rice admitted that he falsely reported to law enforcement that 53 head of cattle had been stolen from the ranch. Rice knew that those cattle, which had been pledged as collateral on a line of credit loan at Liberty Bank, had been sold without the bank’s knowledge or permission. When the bank announced that it was going to conduct an inspection of the cattle, the owner asked Rice to assist in the bank fraud scheme.
On Feb. 8, 2009, Rice contacted the Christian County Sheriff’s Office and falsely reported the theft of 53 head of cattle. When deputies responded to the ranch, Rice walked them around the property and provided further false details regarding the alleged cattle theft. Rice also prepared and signed a false written statement describing the alleged cattle theft, which caused the filing of a false investigative report by the sheriff’s office.
Later that day, Rice provided an on-camera interview with a local television station in which he falsely alleged that cattle had been stolen. On Feb. 9, 2009, Rice provided another on-camera interview with another local television station.
Under federal statutes, Rice is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the state Rural Crimes Investigative Unit (which includes the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Missouri Water Patrol).
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at