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John Coleman's sentencing in Express Grain fraud case put off again

Thursday, June 20, 2024, 11:35 am News Flash Archive

The sentencing of John Coleman on fraud charges has been postponed by the federal judge from June 13, 2024 until November 14, 2024.

Coleman was charged by federal authorities with multiple counts of fraud relating to the collapse of Express Grain, a Greenwood-based company dealing in corn and soybeans.

Ultimately, Coleman pled guilty to one federal fraud count at a hearing before Judge Michael Mills in the northern federal district court on February 22, 2024. According to the plea agreement:

The defendant agrees to plead guilty under oath to Count One of the Indictment, which charges that the defendant, JOHN R. COLEMAN, did devise and intend to devise a scheme to defraud Farmers, UMB Bank, and the Mississippi State Board of Agriculture, and to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises and for the purpose of executing and attempting to execute part of the scheme to defraud, knowingly caused to be transmitted by means of wire communication in interstate commerce, a writing, sign, and signal in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. . . .

The fraud included Coleman falsifying financial audits, and lying to the bank and other finance companies about how much grain his company actually owned in its inventory. Coleman had managed to sell millions of bushels of beans that EG didn't actually own.

All the details of the plea agreement, and the background on the fraudulent conduct that ultimately led to the collapse and bankruptcy of Express Grain, may be seen here: John Coleman pleads guilty to fraud in Express Grain collapse

The collapse of Express Grain left creditors unpaid for services and goods delivered in excess of $160 million. Farmers who had delivered their grain to EG had never been paid to the tune of $55 million. At the end of the bankruptcy, they received on average less than 20 cents on the dollar of what they were owed, but most were paid nothing.

EG's main banker and largest single creditor, UMB Bank, which had financed EG in the amount of $70 million in loans, in the end lost around $28 million after EG was liquidated in bankruptcy.

Coleman was also indicted by the state on six counts of fraud, to which he has pled guilty. According to the Leflore County District Attorney's office this morning, Coleman's sentencing on the state court charges is now set for July 22, 2024.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reported that the state court judge agreed, in an April 15, 2024 hearing, to postpone Coleman's sentencing on the six state fraud charges until after the federal court has handed down a sentence.

It's unclear whether that agreement still stands, now that the federal court has put off the sentencing on the federal charge to November.

The federal court order rescheduling Coleman's sentencing to November 14, 2024 may be seen here: Order Rescheduling Sentencing

To read our previous reporting about the Express Grain collapse and the fraud charges that resulted, see here: John Coleman's state criminal fraud trial put off again; bankruptcy court updates

To read all our coverage of the Express Grain bankruptcy case, see here: Index of Express Grain articles

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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