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Minnesota co-op manager charged with tax crimes

Minnesota officials charged a former co-op manager of using business funds to bankroll personal expenses. The government has accused the manager of using his position within the business to gain loans from banks to pay for elaborate hunting trips, real estate purchases and other personal expenses.

In addition to wrongly using the funds, the accused also faces allegations of misrepresentation. In this case, the accused also received a loan from a local bank. The bank states the manager exaggerated the assets of the co-op to receive a larger line of credit. In addition to civil charges from the co-op, the manager also faces criminal charges, as noted above. These criminal charges include mail fraud and tax evasion.

An investigation allegedly led to evidence the manager wrote checks from the co-op to himself or his own benefit for the last 15 years. The investigators state the evidence includes a check from ill-gotten gains mailed to a landowner to purchase property. It is illegal to use the United States Postal Service to further criminal wrongdoing. If the government has evidence to support these allegations, the accused could face a conviction for mail fraud.

If the manager wrote himself checks, the checks would likely count as income. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would require the manager to report such income on his tax returns. As such, the government has also accused the individual of evading his tax obligations.

Ultimately, the manager pled guilty to the allegations. In the agreement, the accused stated checks written for the purchase of soybeans and other operating expenses were used for personal gain. The plea deal also required he admit to stealing over $5 million from the business. The Minnesota criminal justice system has set sentencing for June 21, 2019. The accused could face hefty monetary fines as well as potential imprisonment.

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