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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Former Fayette County Horse Farm Manager Pleads Guilty in Fraud Scheme

Memphis, TN – A local man has pleaded guilty plea to a one count criminal information charging him with wire fraud in connection with the theft of approximately $810,000 from his former employer, Masterson Farms and Kenneth Masterson. D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced the guilty plea announced today.

According to the information presented in court, Zachary M. Baker, 32, was hired to manage Masterson Farms a horse-breeding farm located in Somerville, Tennessee. Beginning in January 2013, Baker began stealing from Masterson Farms by writing checks payable to himself, Zigadoo Money clips, a band he managed, and another individual identified as "E.L.M." Baker also stole funds by making online payments on his personal credit card accounts with funds transferred from the Masterson Farms bank accounts. Between January 2013, and April 9, 2018, the information alleged that Baker stole over $810,000.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Financial fraud can happen anywhere, and can be devastating to local businesses. The defendant used his position of trust and authority to steal proceeds for his personal benefit, and his dishonesty has been exposed. Wherever fraud occurs in the Western District of Tennessee, this office will be prepared to hold offenders accountable."

Baker faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment; a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release on the wire fraud charge.

Baker is scheduled to be sentenced before United States District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman on December 20, 2018, at 9:00 a.m.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carroll L. André III is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated September 12, 2018