Skip to main content
Press Release

Piatt County Farmer Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

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

URBANA, Ill. – A Piatt County man, James R. R. Williams, 63, of rural Cisco, Illinois, pleaded guilty to four counts of bank fraud on May 2, 2023. Sentencing for Williams has been scheduled for September 7, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Springfield, Illinois.

In court before U.S. District Judge Collen R. Lawless, Williams admitted that for the 2016 growing season he obtained a loan of approximately $4.6 million from First Security Bank and Gifford State Bank on behalf of his farming operation, RJW Williams Farms, Inc. The loans were collateralized by Williams’s assets, including grain. Williams acknowledged under oath that, beginning in October 2016, he defrauded both banks by concealing his grain sales from the banks by instructing employees of Archer Daniels Midland grain elevators in Niantic and Weldon, Illinois, to issue four checks to another individual, which were then deposited into an account held jointly by Williams and that individual and then used by Williams for his own benefit. The government alleges that between October 20, 2014, and February 1, 2017, Williams caused ADM to issue approximately twenty-two checks totaling $540,505.35 in the name of his son for grain that was actually sold by Williams and was collateral for Williams’s outstanding loan.

Williams was released on bond pending sentencing.

For each of the four counts of bank fraud, Williams faces statutory penalties of a maximum twenty-year term of imprisonment, a maximum $1 million fine, and a maximum five-year term of supervised release.

The case investigation was conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation -- Office of Inspector General. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is currently representing the government in the prosecution.

Updated May 8, 2023

Financial Fraud