Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

Former feedlot owner sentenced to prison, fined for ponzi scheme

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A former feedlot owner in eastern South Dakota was  sentenced Thursday morning at the U.S. District Courthouse in Sioux Falls, after the court heard over two hours of testimony.

Photo Bemidgi Pioneer

RobertBlom, 59, of Corsica, was sentenced to 97 months in prison — with six months subtracted for time served — plus three years of supervised release after pleading guilty in August to one count of federal wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

Blom’s sentence stems from a federal indictment in March 2020 on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.

The indictment alleged that beginning on or about January 2014 and continuing through February 2019, Blom devised a scheme to defraud investors.

Blom operated a custom cattle-feeding business in the Corsica area.  As part of his business, Blom solicited investors for groups of cattle.  He purchased groups of cattle from various livestock companies and the cattle were raised on feedlots owned or used by him.  Blom raised the cattle to maturity and then sold them to processing plants.  After the groups of cattle were sold, Blom paid the profits to the investors in the groups.

It was alleged, however, that Blom sold the same groups of cattle to multiple different investors.  Each invoice should have been used for just one group of investors, but Blom knew that he did not have and could not purchase as many head of cattle as he represented to investors.  Sometimes Blom altered the cattle purchase invoices in an effort to conceal that he sold the same group of cattle to multiple different investors.

Also as part of the scheme and artifice, Blom falsely and fraudulently represented to investors that he would use their money to purchase groups of cattle and to care for those cattle.  Instead, he routinely used money from new investors to pay back old investors.

On multiple occasions, Blom mailed invoices and other investment-related documents to investors and several investors mailed their investment payments to him.  Also on multiple occasions, Blom received payments from investors, often by check and Blom also paid old investors, often by check

In total, Blom scammed $24 million from 30 victims over a course of five years — including one victim who lost over $3.75 million.

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