Rush City Woman Sentenced to Prison for Role in $1.8 Million Scheme Involving Romance Fraud and Federal Pandemic Programs
MINNEAPOLIS – A Traverse County man was sentenced today to four years of probation, local community confinement, and $416,389 in restitution, for his role in a wire fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Bryan Dallas Crandall, 37, conspired with two employees of the Cenex Harvest States (CHS) grain elevator in Herman, Minnesota to manipulate the records of corn and soybeans delivered by Crandall on multiple occasions between 2013 and 2017. At the time of the fraud, the computer system in place at the elevator in Herman allowed an elevator employee to manually adjust scale readings, in order to allow the scale operator to correct potential errors in the weighing process.
Crandall conspired with the CHS employees to have the employees falsely inflate the number of bushels that Crandall appeared to deliver by semi-truck for sale to CHS. In some cases, entries were made in the elevator computer where a truck was not even present. After receiving payment for the fraudulent deliveries, Crandall kicked-back a portion of the proceeds to his co-conspirators in the form of money, vehicles, and firearms.
Unbeknownst to the elevator employees and Crandall, the CHS database automatically recorded a notation whenever a grain load was manually altered. The scheme ended when local investigators found bank and cell phone records that reflected unusual text messages and payments between Crandall and one of the employees, and CHS located the manual alterations though an analysis of the computer records. In 2018, investigators seized and forfeited vehicles, a snowmobile, and farm equipment obtained in the scheme.
Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk for the District of Minnesota made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery sentenced the defendant.
This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Lewis prosecuted the case.