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Montana rancher sentenced in inflated cattle numbers case


Associated Press - August 31, 2018

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Montana rancher accused of lying to a bank about the number of cattle in his possession was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution.

Darrell Hatley, 67, of Miles City was sentenced Thursday in Billings federal court after pleading guilty in April to wire fraud.

According to court documents, Hatley started borrowing from Texas-based Capital Farm Credit in 2002 to cover expenses on his ranches in Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and other states.

Hatley began giving the bank inflated cattle numbers in 2015, violating a condition of the loan. The rancher came clean when the bank attempted to verify the cattle last year.

Prosecutors say the rancher fraudulently obtained about $2.1 million by padding his cattle numbers.



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