ST. LOUIS (CN) – A Ponzi scheme may have cost Missouri farmers $50 million. A federal grand jury accused Cathy M. Gieseker, 45, of Martinsburg, of mail fraud, wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.
Prosecutors say Gieseker, the owner T.J. Gieseker Farms & Trucking, ran a $27 million grain fraud scheme.
Gieseker marketed grain on behalf of farmers between October 2002 and February 2009, when she quoted above-market prices to farmers and told them that she had contracts guaranteeing the prices, court papers state.
Prosecutors say Gieseker did not have the contracts but sold the grain at the spot price, the local cash price for immediate settlement and delivery. Gieseker allegedly used proceeds from the spot price sales to pay the above-market prices promised to other farmers, defrauding about 180 farmers of $27 million to $50 million.
If convicted, Gieseker faces 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines on each fraud count and 10 years in prison and $250,000 fines on the interstate transportation of stolen property count.
Martinsburg is 95 miles northwest of St. Louis.