Former ND grain trader Hanson to be released before next hearing on federal fraud charges
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Hunter Hanson, the North Dakota grain trader who investigators say bilked millions of dollars from farmers and elevators, will be allowed to leave jail while he awaits a plea hearing on federal wire fraud and money laundering ch...
BISMARCK, N.D. - Hunter Hanson, the North Dakota grain trader who investigators say bilked millions of dollars from farmers and elevators, will be allowed to leave jail while he awaits a plea hearing on federal wire fraud and money laundering charges.
In a bond hearing on Thursday, June 20, Magistrate Judge Clare Hochhalter ordered Hanson released under strict conditions at the farm where his father, Keith Hanson, lives near Sheyenne in northeast North Dakota.
Hanson has officially pleaded not guilty but has agreed to plead guilty July 30 before District Judge Daniel Hovland. Until then, he'll be monitored by electronic GPS and by probation officers.
The federal plea agreement states that from January 2018 to December 2018, Hanson "executed a scheme to defraud approximately 60 farmers, elevator, or commodity brokers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada." Hanson has agreed to repay more than $11 million.
Hochhalter told him he would be prohibited from any financial transactions and is to provide a list of his assets to the government. He is required to provide electronic devices and their codes to federal officials.
Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan O'Konek asked that Hanson be detained, with FBI and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations officials discussing his fraud and lying to farmers, and that he could be a flight risk. Among other things, O'Konek said that when Hanson was arrested on McLean County charges, he was in possession of $15,000 in cash and a check of about $18,000 to an automobile auction company.
Hanson's lawyer, Lucas Wynne, argued that Hanson has attended earlier court hearings in state court, as required. Hanson's father, Keith Hanson, appeared on his son's behalf.
Courts in McLean, Sheridan, Williams and McHenry counties by June 20 had dismissed redundant state charges at the request of the federal prosecutors.