MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A Traverse County farmer on June 3, 2021, was sentenced to four years of probation, “local community confinement,” and ordered to pay $416,389 in restitution for his role in a wire fraud scheme involving grain marketing.
Court officials did not initially respond to questions about what local community confinement means. Crandall continues to farm, according to sources.
Court documents say that Bryan Dallas Crandall, 37, conspired with two employees of the Cenex Harvest States at Herman, Minn., to manipulate the records of corn and soybeans delivered by Crandall on multiple occasions between April 2013 and April 2017.
At the time of the fraud, the computer system in place at the elevator in Herman allowed an elevator employee to manually adjust scale readings, in order to allow the scale operator to correct potential errors in the weighing process.
Crandall conspired with the CHS employees to have the employees falsely inflate the number of bushels Crandall “appeared to deliver” by semi-truck for sale to CJS.
“In some cases, entries were made in the elevator computer where a truck was not even present,” court documents said.
“After receiving his payment for the fraudulent deliveries, Crandall . . . kicked-back a portion of the proceeds to his co-conspirators ‘in the form of money, vehicles, and firearms.”
“Unbeknownst to the elevator employees and Crandall, the CHS database automatically recorded a notation whenever a grain load was manually altered,” according to the court.
The scheme ended when local investigators found bank and cell phone records that indicated unusual text messages and payments between Crandall and one of the employees, and CHS located the manual alteration through analysis of the computer records.
In a specific situation on Sept. 22, 2015, prosecutors said Crandall sent a text to “Co-conspirator A,” to communicate the “amount of fraud proceeds being kicked back” to the co-conspirator“ from a recent fraudulent trade.
In 2018, investigators seized and forfeited vehicles, a snowmobile and farm equipment obtained in the scheme.
US. Attorney W. Anders Folk made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery sentenced Crandall. The case was conducted by officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Grant County Sheriff’s office.
Meanwhile, Crandall remains on probation in Traverse County, Minn., after an “Alford plea” to charges of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult in a land deal. (An Alford plea means a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledges evidence that could convict.)
Judge Charles Glasrud on Dec. 14, 2020, sentenced him to pay restitution of $50,000 “jointly to Austin and Collin McDonnell,” involving a land deal in which Crandall manipulated the victim. The sentence mentions he must remain “law-abiding" and have no contact with the victim or her children. He also was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation through Dec. 14, 2021.