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Published December 23, 2010, 01:40 PM

Iowa farmer accused of stealing corn from lender

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An Iowa farmer has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge that he stole 32,000 bushels of corn that were mortgaged to a government-owned agricultural lender.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An Iowa farmer has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge that he stole 32,000 bushels of corn that were mortgaged to a government-owned agricultural lender.

Chris Wessels of Earlville was arraigned in federal court in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday on one count of stealing corn pledged to the Commodity Credit Corporation. The 49-year-old was released and trial was set for February.

Prosecutors say the corn was mortgaged as a security for a $61,000 loan. An indictment alleges Wessels stole the corn for his personal use between January and May 2008.

Wessels' attorney did not immediately return a phone message.

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