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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nebraska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 3, 2017

Colorado Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced today that Benedict T. Palen, Jr., age 63, of Denver, Colorado waived indictment and entered a guilty plea to a one count Information which charged him with mail fraud. Sentencing has been set for May 5, 2017. Under the statute, Palen is subject to a maximum punishment of up to twenty years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

 

According to documents filed in the case, in September of 2012, Palen, acting through his company, Great Plains Farms, sold a John Deere tractor to an individual in Holdrege, Nebraska for $45,000 representing it to be free and clear of liens. A $20,000 check was mailed to Palen as a down payment. On the same date, Palen sold the same tractor to an individual in South Dakota. Further investigation revealed that not only was there a lien against the tractor held by a bank in Kansas, but the same tractor had actually been sold in 2011 by the defendant, as vice-president of Pull Pans, Inc., to a company in Florida. When Palen had not delivered the tractor to the Holdrege buyer by April of 2013, Palen claimed there was a discrepancy in the number of hours on the tractor and modified the agreement to provide for delivery of a different John Deere tractor thereby causing the buyer to mail a $25,000 check to Palen for the remaining amount due. However, this alternate tractor had also been sold in 2011 by the defendant, as vice-president of Pull Pans, Inc., to the Florida company.

 

This case was investigated by the Postal Inspection Service.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated February 10, 2017