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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 5, 2021

Corsica Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering in a Multi-Million Dollar Cattle Ponzi Scheme

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Corsica, South Dakota, man convicted of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering was sentenced on November 4, 2021, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Robert Blom, age 59, was sentenced to 91 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, $24,282,865.94 in restitution, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $200.

Blom was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 3, 2020.  He pled guilty on August 2, 2021.

The conviction stemmed from incidents beginning on or about January 2014 and continuing through February 2019, when Blom, with the intent to defraud, devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property from ­­others.  Blom’s scheme and artifice to defraud was to unjustly enrich himself by obtaining funds fraudulently.

Blom operated a custom cattle-feeding business in the Corsica area.  As a part of his business, Blom solicited investors for groups of cattle.  He purchased groups of cattle from various livestock companies and those groups of cattle were raised on feedlots owned or used by Blom.  He raised the groups of cattle to maturity, and then sold them to processing plants.  After the groups of cattle were sold, Blom paid the profits to the investors in the groups.

However, Blom sold the same groups of cattle to multiple different investors.  Blom sent identical cattle purchase invoices to multiple investor groups, when each invoice should have been used for just one group of investors.  At the time, Blom knew that he did not have and could not purchase as many head of cattle as he represented to investors.  Sometimes Blom altered the cattle purchase invoices in an effort to conceal that he sold the same group of cattle to multiple different investors.  Because he sold the same groups of cattle to multiple different investor groups, the money generated from the sale of the cattle groups to a processing plant did not generate enough money to pay back all of the investors who invested in those cattle groups.

Blom falsely and fraudulently represented to investors that he would use their money to purchase groups of cattle and to care for those cattle.  Instead, he routinely used money from new investors to pay back old investors, often by check. 

On multiple occasions during the relevant time period, Blom mailed invoices and other investment-related documents to investors.  Several investors mailed their investment checks to him.

As part of Blom’s scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money from others, Blom caused various wire communications to be sent.  This includes an investment check for $256,996.72 made on or about December 17, 2018.  This transaction involved an interstate wire transmission from Farmers State Bank in South Dakota, to First Dakota National Bank in South Dakota, through US Bank in Minnesota.

Blom also knowingly conducted multiple financial transactions that affected interstate commerce and that involved the proceeds of his fraud scheme, as described above.  Blom made payments to investors knowing that the financial transactions were designed in whole or in part to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds of his fraud scheme.  Blom knew that the money involved in these financial transactions represented the proceeds of his fraud scheme. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.

Blom was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated November 5, 2021