Federal Affidavit Details Alleged Scheme to Defraud Minnesota Cooperative

DTN writer Todd Neely reported today that, “The man accused of stealing millions of dollars from the Ashby Farmers Cooperative in Ashby, Minnesota, has surrendered himself to federal authorities and now faces one count of mail fraud.

“Jerome Hennessey, 56, of Dalton, Minnesota, made his initial court appearance in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The former manager of the Ashby cooperative allegedly stole at least $2 million from the elevator from 2003 to 2018, before disappearing in September 2018.”

The DTN article stated that, “According to the affidavit, Hennessey allegedly caused the cooperative to make more than $1.1 million in payments to himself and more than $1.1 million in payments to a personal Cabela’s Visa card in Hennessey’s name. In addition, co-op funds allegedly were spent by Hennessey on hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for ‘various expensive hunting trips and taxidermy services,’ the affidavit said.”

Mr. Neeley noted that, “Erik Ahlgren, an attorney hired by the cooperative, told DTN the cooperative is doing all it can to recover the money from Hennessey. In October the co-op filed a civil suit against him. Ahlgren said the co-op is considering additional lawsuits.

“‘We expect to obtain assets on behalf of the creditors but we do not expect to obtain sufficient assets to make the creditors whole,’ he said. ‘We are hopeful that Mr. Hennessey will cooperate in obtaining assets to repay the creditors but we do not expect Mr. Hennessey’s return to have a significant impact on whether we obtain a judgment against him and we will do the best we can, with or without his cooperation, to recover assets on behalf of the creditors.'”

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