After nearly two decades of defrauding producers and farmers throughout the Midwest, an Iowa corporation and four of its high-level managers have been sentenced in federal court.

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From the early 2000s to late March 2017, workers at the Lynch Livestock have allegedly been part of a fraud scheme where they would routinely downgrade the weights and classification of hogs to save money. According to the United States Attorney’s Office, the practice largely targeted “large, corporate swine producers who brought their swine for sale to Lynch Livestock.”

Cute pig leaning on railing of his cot

Managers would create false and fraudulent invoices to pay less and shred and burn the evidence.

Then in late 2017, Lynch Livestock and the USDA entered an administrated consent decision in which Lynch Livestock agreed to pay nearly $800,000 in restitution to two of its corporate customers for committing fraud at two Iowa buying stations.

Then between 2018 and 2021 Lynch Livestock’s managers and employees would use a crowbar to manipulate the scale at its buying station. This would help the company to create, keep, and provide producers with scale tickets with false information. This resulted in the producers to paid less than they were owed.

In 2021 Lynch Livestock and the USDA entered a second administrate consent decision and agreed to pay over $400,000 in restitution to various farmers and producers.

Four managers pled guilty to the scheme in January. Billie Joe Wickham, the bookkeeper, was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of supervised release and fined $3,000. Charlie Lynch, a sow procurement and marketing employee at the company was sentenced to five years of probation and fined $3,000. Leland “Pete” Blue was sentenced to five years of probation and fined $1,000. Tyler Thoms was sentenced to one year of probation.

Last Friday, February 10th, Lynch Livestock was sentenced to five years probation, fined $196,000, and was ordered to pay over $3 million in restitution to livestock producers and farmers.

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With an enrollment of more than 10,500 students, the Waterloo School District is one of the 10 largest of Iowa’s 377 public school systems. The district currently operates two regular high schools, one alternative high school, four middle schools,11 elementary schools and a regional career center. The district includes the cities of Waterloo, Elk Run Heights, Evansdale, Gilbertville, Raymond, part of Cedar Falls, and some unincorporated areas of Black Hawk County.

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