Nevada Man Sentenced for $2 Million Fraud Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Nevada, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in a $2 million scheme to defraud Cargill, Inc. by creating fictitious scale tickets for loads of corn that were paid for but never actually delivered to the company’s Butterfield, Mo., feed mill.
Lyle E. Tourtillott, 68, of Nevada, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, to three years and one month in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Tourtillott to pay $1,012,000 in restitution.
On Sept. 3, 2013, Tourtillott pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud.
In a separate but related case, Bob True Beisly, III, 40, of Nevada, and Ronald Bunn, 45, of Deerfield, Mo., were sentenced on March 20, 2014. Beisly was sentenced to two years and 11 months in federal prison without parole (to run consecutively to his state criminal cases) and ordered to pay $559,616 in restitution to Cargill. Beisly pleaded guilty on Aug. 6, 2013, to one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Bunn was sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $754,564 in restitution to Cargill. Bunn pleaded guilty on Nov. 12, 2013, to two counts of mail fraud.
In a separate but related case, Jeffrey Hobbs, 41, of Exeter, Mo., was sentenced on Nov. 21, 2013, to two years and eight months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $2,334,180 in restitution to Cargill. Hobbs pleaded guilty on May 20, 2013, to one count of wire fraud. Each of the defendants will be held jointly and severally liable for the restitution payments.
Hobbs worked as a scale operator and pellet mill operator at Cargill’s Butterfield feed mill from December 1999 until March 2013. When a delivery truck would arrive at the feed mill, Hobbs was responsible for weighing each truck and its contents. Once the truck was weighed, Hobbs created a scale ticket for the company that delivered the grain, corn or feed. A copy of the scale ticket was sent to Cargill’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn., for processing and payment to the trucking company.
Tourtillott, Beisly and Bunn approached Hobbs in 2002 about creating fictitious scale tickets for non-delivered loads of corn as a way to make money and ultimately defraud Cargill. Hobbs began creating completely fictitious scale tickets for Tourtillott, Beisly and Bunn for the delivery of loads of grain, corn or feed that did not truly exist. Hobbs referred to these as “ghost loads.”
Hobbs initially received $300 in kickbacks for each “ghost load,” which was later increased to $500 in cash for each “ghost load.”
Tourtillott worked as a driver for his brother, the owner of T&T Grain, which held contracts with Cargill to deliver feed or grain to the Butterfield feed mill. Tourtillott admitted that he received fictitious scale tickets from Hobbs for deliveries that were never actually made. Once Hobbs provided Tourtillott with the fictitious scale ticket, Tourtillott would pay a kickback to Hobbs and later receive payment from Cargill. On several occasions, investigating agents conducted undercover audio and video recordings, which confirmed that Tourtillott worked with Hobbs in obtaining fictitious scale tickets at the grain feed mill.
Beisly owned and operated K&B Grain. Beisly obtained contracts with Cargill for the delivery of a set number of grain loads that were supposed to deliver grain, corn or another type of product to the Butterfield feed mill. Beisly admitted that he received numerous fictitious scale tickets from Hobbs for deliveries that were never actually made. Beisly also admitted that at least once a week he received a fictitious scale ticket from Hobbs that claimed he had delivered a shipment of grain to the Butterfield feed mill, when in truth and fact, no such shipment or delivery was made. Shortly after the fictitious scale tickets were created by Hobbs, Beisly received a payment from Cargill.
Bunn owned and operating RB Grain. Bunn was contracted through The Scoular Company to transport shipments of wheat, corn and grain to the Cargill feed mill in Butterfield. Bunn also admitted that he received numerous fictitious scale tickets from Hobbs for deliveries that were never actually made. Once Scoular received a payment from Cargill based on the submission of a fictitious scale ticket, Scoular issued a check to Bunn based on the delivery of wheat, corn or feed that was never delivered.
Cargill officials discovered the fraud when the amount of grain, corn or feed that was being paid for was inconsistent with the amount they actually received. Over a span of nine years, this fraud scheme caused losses to Cargill of approximately $2 million.These cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. They were investigated by the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.