Ozark Man Pleads Guilty to $2.4 Million Cattle Fraud Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An Ozark, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court to a $2.4 million wire fraud scheme in which he falsely claimed that he had purchased thousands of head of cattle under a contract with a Texas company.
Dwight Moody Cox, 76, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, to one count of wire fraud.
Cox was the owner of Dwight Cox Cattle Company, which provided cattle procurement services. DCCC purchased cattle throughout the region and placed those cattle on land owned or rented by Cox to graze and feed. Once the cattle reached a specified weight, Cox shipped the cattle to his clients.
Cox had a contract with Texas Beef Cattle Company (TBCC), located in Amarillo, Texas, from 2009 until Nov. 30, 2017. During this period of time, Cox purchased cattle from various livestock auction houses and kept them on land he owned or had rented to graze, feed, and provide care. Cox submitted invoices to TBCC for all cattle he purchased, and billed TBCC for feeding the cattle. Once the cattle had reached a weight previously agreed to between Cox and TBCC, the cattle would be shipped by Cox to TBCC. TBCC would then sell the cattle and any profits would be shared equally between TBCC and Cox.
Between April 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2017, Cox submitted 35 different invoices, claiming to have purchased approximately 3,250 head of cattle. Cox also claimed to have those cattle grazing on land he owned or rented. In return for his representations, TBCC issued bank transfer payments in the amount of approximately $2,559,419.
In February 2018, TBCC officials contacted Cox and requested that the cattle be shipped to their facility in Amarillo for sale. On Feb. 27, 2018, Cox reported to officials with TBCC that he was unable to deliver the cattle and that he only had 147 head of cattle. When asked why 3,100 head of cattle were missing, Cox admitted that he had submitted false invoices to TBCC.
TBCC officials reported that minus the 147 head of cattle that were received from Cox, he fraudulently obtained $2,403,975 through his wire fraud scheme.
Under federal statutes, Cox is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the FBI.