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Press Release

Arizona Rancher Sentenced to 41 Months for Role in Embezzlement and Wire Fraud Schemes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. – Donald Hugh Nichols, 62, of Coolidge, Arizona, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to 41 months in prison. Nichols previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

Between 2013 and August 2017, Nichols, with the help of his son, engaged in a scheme to steal cattle from the Marana Stockyards and Livestock Market, an entity which hosts weekly livestock auctions for Arizona ranchers. As a cattle broker for third-party buyers, Nichols also illegally bid on his own cattle without the buyers’ knowledge or consent. Some of the cattle that Nichols purchased on behalf of third-party buyers were stolen from Marana Stockyards. As a result of these fraud schemes, Marana Stockyards suffered over $1 million in losses.

Nichols’ son, Seth Nichols, previously pleaded guilty for his role, and was sentenced in December 2018 to 60 months in prison.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation in this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

RELEASE NUMBER:    2021-028_Nichols

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Updated April 20, 2021

Press Release Number: 2021-028_Nichols