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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Steven Ray Williams, 58, of Hope, Kentucky, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on Thursday, by U.S. District Court Judge Karen K. Caldwell, after previously pleading guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, involving fraudulent representations to a financial institution.
Beginning in 1999 Williams borrowed a series of loans from the Farm Services Agency (FSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As pledged collateral for the loans, Williams listed farm equipment, cattle and other livestock. In April 2012, Williams failed to make his loan payment to the FSA and declared bankruptcy the following month.
According to the plea agreement, from March 2012 through June 2015, Williams regularly sold off cattle at various stockyards in central Kentucky. Because the cattle had been pledged as collateral, though, Williams sold the cattle in the name of other people. Upon receiving payment for the cattle, in the form of a check, Williams forged the signature of the person it was made out to, and then added his own signature, enabling him to deposit the funds into his own bank account. Because he was in default on his FSA loans, Williams’ actions brought him financial gain and deprived the FSA of any chance at recovering proceeds from the livestock that was collateral.
Williams pleaded guilty in January 2020.
Under federal law, Williams must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for five years.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Jason M. Williams, Special Agent in Charge for USDA OIG, jointly announced the sentencing.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Moynahan.
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