Minnesota farmer sentenced to prison for USDA loan fraud

A Minnesota farmer will spend a year in prison and another three on supervised released for his role in defrauding the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) out of nearly half a million dollars.

Mark Alan Engelkes, 54, of Slayton, is charged with converting collateral that secured loans from the USDA.

According to court documents, in October 2015 Engelkes pledged 15,641 bushels of soybeans as collateral to the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation in order to obtain loan proceeds of nearly $80,000. During the application process for the loan, Engelkes agreed to not move or dispose of the collateral until it was paid in full. 

However, in April 2016 USDA officials learned that Engelkes had removed the grain without prior approval and sold it. In addition to the loan, the defendant also defaulted on other farm financing from USDA, resulting in a total loss amount to the government of $435,517.78 – the amount of restitution that will be required to be repaid as part of sentencing.