Cattle Fraud Scheme Resulted in Two Murders
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Braymer, Missouri, man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for a $215,000 cattle fraud scheme that he attempted to cover up by murdering two Wisconsin brothers.
Garland Joseph Nelson, 27, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
The indictment charges Nelson with one count of mail fraud for a scheme in which he allegedly shot and killed two men whom he had defrauded of $215,000 in a cattle contract. Nelson has been charged with two counts of murder in a separate state case that is scheduled for trial in June 2022.
According to the indictment, Nelson – an employee of J4s Farm Enterprises, Inc., a business started by his mother – agreed to care for cattle belonging to Diemel’s Livestock, LLC, located in Shawano County, Wisconsin. Nicholas and Justin Diemel were principals in Diemel’s Livestock, which invested and traded in cattle and other livestock. Nelson agreed to feed and pasture the cattle, then sell the cattle and send Diemel’s Livestock the proceeds (minus the costs of raising the cattle).
The Diemels sent several loads of cattle to Nelson from November 2018 through April 2019. Nelson sold some loads of cattle and paid the Diemels. However, Nelson allegedly sold, traded, and/or killed many of the Diemels’s cattle without remitting the payments to the Diemels. Nelson continued to fraudulently bill the Diemels for feed and yardage for cattle that had been sold, traded, or had died.
Nelson, the indictment says, did not properly care for cattle due to incompetence, neglect, or maltreatment. Cattle entrusted to Nelson had high death rates dues to underfeeding, neglect, and/or maltreatment. Nelson fed cattle inadequately and poorly. For example, he dropped hay bales in a pasture for calves but did not remove the plastic covering so that calves ate the plastic and died. In another example, in December 2018, Nelson was entrusted with feeding and caring for 131 calves he co-owned with a Kansas farmer. On May 23, 2019, Nelson dropped off 35 calves at the co-owner’s farm in Kansas, apparently all that survived of the 131. Of the surviving 35 calves, many were emaciated and had ringworm. Some calves had their ears torn as though identifying ear tags had been removed.
Throughout the spring of 2019, Nicholas Diemel pressed Nelson for payment for his cattle. He sent no more loads of cattle to Nelson while he awaited his payment.
To deprive the Diemels of their cattle or their money and to prevent them from recovering either their cattle or their money, in June 2019 Nelson fraudulently sent the Diemels a bad check for $215,936 while the account had a balance of 21 cents. The check had been intentionally torn and damaged so that it could not be submitted for payment.
Nicholas Diemel determined to come to Missouri to retrieve his money. On July 17, 2019, Nicholas Diemel bought two round-trip airline tickets from Milwaukee to Kansas City. On July 20, 2019, Nicholas and Justin Diemel arrived in Kansas City and rented a pickup truck from Budget.
On July 21, 2019, the Diemels drove their rental truck to Nelson’s mother’s farm in Braymer, the indictment alleges, where Nelson killed them both and attempted to dispose of their bodies.
Today’s indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Nelson to forfeit to the government any property obtained from the proceeds of the alleged fraud scheme, including $215,936.
The charge contained in this indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen D. Mahoney. It was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General, the Caldwell County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Bourbon County, Kan., Sheriff’s Department, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.