'Big cow deal' is undoing of farm broker

·2 min read

May 15—MACON — A farm broker has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a scheme to defraud an investor of up to $2.1 million.

Collis Robert Todd, aka C. Robert Todd, aka Collis Todd, aka Robert Todd, aka Robert C. Todd, 64, of Jesup, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell. Todd faces a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is August 18. There is no parole in the federal system.

"Those who lie their way to an illegal profit can expect to be prosecuted," acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Peter D. Leary said. "Defrauding people and small businesses out of their hard-earned money with deceit and manipulation is a criminal offense. I want to thank the FBI for unraveling this scheme and bringing the defendant to justice."

"Todd deceived an investor into believing the investor's money would make legitimate gains only to find out the money was going into Todd's pockets," Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker said. "It is a stark reminder to investors to be very careful where they entrust their money. The FBI is committed to finding investment predators, no matter how clever they think their schemes are."

Todd worked as a cattle and corn broker from 2008-2017. During that time, he entered into an agreement with an investor who supplied the money used to execute deals negotiated and conducted by Todd. The general understanding was that profits would be split evenly. Todd did not invest the money as promised in certain deals, instead using it for his own purposes. Todd sometimes sent money back to the investor representing an amount that he said was profit, which was not true. This was done to disguise Todd's theft and to keep the investor investing in current and future deals.

Todd's deceit continued when he made a phone call on Nov. 6, 2016, to the investor's business manager, claiming he would sell cows and calves he previously purchased on behalf of the investor, with the investor's money, as part of a "big cow" deal and transmit the proceeds to the investor. In fact, the cows and calves did not exist. The investor was schemed out of an amount not to exceed $2,137,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul McCommon is prosecuting the case.

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