NORWALK, Ohio — A Huron County grain merchant has pleaded guilty to stealing $3.22 million in proceeds from grain he sold on behalf of 35 farmers in north-central Ohio, state officials announced Monday.
Richard J. Schwan, 79, of Monroeville, Ohio, pleaded guilty in Huron County Common Pleas Court to two counts of aggravated theft and one count each of attempted aggravated theft, falsification, operating as an insolvent handler, and delayed price agreement, according to a statement from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Ohio Department of Agriculture.
As part of a plea agreement, Schwan must pay restitution — about $2.5 million to the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund, and the balance to farmers still owed for their grain — and reimburse the Ohio Department of Agriculture for investigative costs before he is sentenced Aug. 23.
Schwan was arrested in November after investigators found his company, Schwan Grain Inc., had deliberately failed to pay farmers in five counties their share of grain-sale proceeds and filed false financial documents with the state.
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