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.