Braymer man sentenced in 3-part cattle fraud scheme


A Braymer, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court for a cattle fraud scheme that resulted in losses of more than $262,000 to his victims. 

Garland Joseph “Joey” Nelson, 22, of Braymer, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to two years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Nelson to pay $262,450 in restitution to his victims, including the USDA Farm Service Agency, Cyclone Cattle Company, and individual victims. The government may enforce restitution and the recovery of government property under lien at any time. Nelson must report to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 21, 2016, to begin serving his sentence. 

On Nov. 30, 2015, Nelson pleaded guilty to a fraud scheme using property mortgaged or pledged to farm credit agencies. Nelson engaged in a three-part fraud scheme that caused a combined loss of $262,450. 

Loan Fraud: $138,452

Nelson received two livestock operating loans in April 2013 totaling $158,000 for the limited purpose of buying and raising cattle. In violation of the express terms of his loans, and with fraudulent intent, Nelson conducted livestock sales from April 2013 to July 2014 under the name “Joey Nelson” to avoid detection. He conducted other sales in the name of a friend to further conceal his involvement. His friend then transferred the proceeds to Nelson. 

Nelson ceased making repayments on his FSA loans as of Jan. 12, 2015. His outstanding principal balance is $138,452, plus applicable interest and penalties. Nelson filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June 25, 2015. 

Livestock Sales: $124,000 

Nelson also schemed to remove identification from cattle that was owned by others but placed in his care to graze. Nelson removed identification tags from 646 head of cattle that belonged to others, and commingled these cattle with his own and with those owned by his neighbor and landlord, in order to sell livestock undetected. He sold those cattle for his own benefit, for a total loss to three victims of $124,000.