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Press Release

Former Grain Elevator Manager Pleads Guilty To Mail Fraud And Tax Evasion

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

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty plea of JEROME ROBERT HENNESSEY, 56, to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion. HENNESSEY, who was charged via felony information on December 18, 2018, entered his guilty plea earlier today before Chief Judge John R. Tunheim in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from 2003 through September 2018, HENNESSEY, the former manager of Ashby Farmers’ Co-Operative Elevator Company (“the Co-op”), was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of the Co-op, controlling the bank accounts and obtaining loans for the business. Using his position and his control over the Co-op’s bank accounts, HENNESSEY wrote checks to himself and to third parties for, among other things, renovations and improvements to his residence and a cabin, the purchase of real estate, the purchase of all-terrain vehicles, outstanding credit card balances, property taxes, expensive hunting trips, and taxidermy services.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, HENNESSEY attempted to disguise the payments by writing descriptions on the carbon copies of the checks falsely indicating that the checks were for the purchase of corn and soybeans or other operating expenses and supplies. HENNESSEY then provided the carbon copies to the Co-op’s bookkeeper, thus ensuring that the Co-op’s accounting records would give the false impression that the funds HENNESSEY had taken had been used for legitimate purposes. In order to make sure that the Co-op had sufficient funds to cover its legitimate expenses and to cover the millions of dollars that HENNESSEY stole, HENNESSEY obtained a line of credit for more than $7 million. In total, HENNESSEY stole approximately $5,338,922.21.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kokkinen is prosecuting the case.


Defendant Information:


Dalton, Minnesota


  • Mail Fraud, 1 count
  • Income Tax Evasion, 1 count





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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600


Updated February 15, 2019

Financial Fraud