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Fed settlement reached in grain elevator fraud case


A man accused of scamming country grain elevators and cooperatives in Minnesota and four other states has settled fraud charges with U.S. commodities regulators.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced Wednesday that it had obtained a consent order and permanent injunction against Mark Vanderploeg, formerly of Glendale, Ariz., and three of his companies, including DVC Farms of Minneapolis.

The consent order concerned illegal and false reporting by Vanderploeg and his companies. The CFTC in September 2010 charged that Vanderploeg pretended to be a farmer and defrauded grain operations in Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota and Minnesota.

The consent order requires Vanderploeg and his companies to pay a $70,000 civil penalty and $112,400 in restitution to victims. The order also requires Vanderploeg and his companies to return $200,000 in "ill-gotten gains."

Harvest Land Cooperative in Morgan, Minn., and Red River Grain Co. in Breckenridge, mINN., are slated to each get almost $40,000 in the return of ill-gotten gains. Cargill Inc. is owed $12,000 in restitution.

Regulators accused Vanderploeg of scheming to collect money that grain elevators made through hedging transactions. He would collect hedge proceeds he wasn't rightfully due, or leave elevators in the lurch with hedging-related losses, according to the CFTC.

Distributed by MCT Information Services