9 Years for Ponzi Scheme in Grain

     ST. LOUIS (CN) - The dealer responsible for the largest grain brokerage failure in Missouri history was sentenced to 9 years in federal prison for mail fraud. Cathy M. Gieseker, 45, of Martinsburg, Mo., took in $27 million through a Ponzi scheme, prosecutors said.
     Gieseker paid farmers for grain with money from the subsequent sale of grain from other farmers, though there were not enough profits to pay all of the farmers everything promised. The scheme collapsed in February 2009, and many farmers were left with no grain and no money for their crops.
     Prosecutors say most of the money went to pay farmers who had been promised above-market prices for their grain. Gieseker spent the rest on cars, gifts and livestock.
     Gieseker pleaded guilty in November 2009 to one felony count of mail fraud. She will forfeit four parcels of property in Martinsburg, one property in Rush Hill, Mo., and 22 vehicles.
     Martinsburg is 95 miles northwest of St. Louis.