DEVILS LAKE, North Dakota — A former cattle buyer from Napoleon, North Dakota, has reached an agreement that delays prosecution on a Class A felony crime case for allegedly bouncing a $227,000 check in a Devils Lake sale barn December in December 2020.

Northeast Circuit Judge Lonnie Olson accepted a “pretrial diversion agreement,” under which the theft charge against Brian W. Gader will be dismissed if he pays $227,103.02 owed to Lake Region Livestock and commits no new offenses within the next year.

The lawyers filed the agreement on Oct. 13 and Gader’s lawyer moved to cancel a previously scheduled Oct. 14 pre-trial conference hearing in Devils Lake. Gader, 65, had pleaded not guilty to the felony, which is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison upon conviction.

Gader is alleged to have written a bad check for $227,103.02 to Lake Region Livestock for loads of cattle in December 2020. Jim Ziegler, Lake Region sale barn owner, alleged that when the check bounced, it left Ziegler to pay the bill to the cattle supplier. Ziegler filed a complaint for the non-payment in February 2021. North Dakota pulled Gader’s license in March.

Under the pretrial diversion agreement, Gader “agrees to the factual basis for the alleged crime” as set out in the complaint but at the same time denies committing the crime.

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Beau Cummings, Ramsey County State’s attorney, and Irvin B. Nodland, Gader’s attorney, proposed to delay prosecution for a year and offer Gader an opportunity to pay Ziegler back. The agreement said it weighs “the substantial likelihood that a conviction could be obtained” and “benefits to society from any rehabilitation.”

The deal requires that Gader not commit a new felony, misdemeanor or infraction.

“The parties stipulate and agree that these things outweigh any harm that may be caused or imposed on society resulting from the suspension of the prosecution in this case,” the agreement said.

If the “pretrial diversion period” succeeds in payment, the felony case “shall be dismissed.” If it doesn’t succeed, the state can ask to modify or terminate the agreement and resume prosecution.

According to the agreement, the deal could unravel if the state finds even “probable cause” that Gader commits a new “felony, misdemeanor or infraction” within the year. The state would only need to provide proof of copies of complaints or affidavits involving a possible “new offense or offenses.”

In a separate Logan County civil cases at Napoleon, Gader admitted he owes nearly $490,000 to Bar T Cattle Company of Walthill, Nebraska. Bar T claimed Gader charged them for cattle that didn’t exist, an accusation he initially denied through his lawyer. But Gader later admitted he owed the money to Bar T and attempted to transfer land to Bar T. Now, a bank is suing to enforce its lien on land involved with the deal. Bar T disputes the bank’s claim of a superior lien.

Plains Commerce Bank, headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, allegedly had written five loans to Gader from late 2015 through February 2019, for which $7.9 million was still owed as of May 27, 2021, and accumulating interest. The bank had foreclosed on the loans, and claimed an interest in land collateral.