December 7, 2022

Mississippi Delta grain elevator owner indicted for fraud

Therese Apel

A Greenwood man faced a federal judge Tuesday on charges of defrauding farmers and others in a grain storage operation.

John R. Coleman of Greenwood, Mississippi made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jane M. Virden of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Coleman with defrauding farmers, banks and the Mississippi Department of Agriculture in connection with his operation of a grain storage and processing business known as Express Grain.

According to court documents, Coleman, age 46, altered the audited financial statements of Express Grain in order to receive a State warehouse license and lied about the amount of debt he owed on grain held at the Express Grain facility. Express Grain eventually filed bankruptcy causing widespread financial hardship for farmers all over the Mississippi Delta.

If convicted, Coleman faces a maximum penalty of 180 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner of the Northern District of Mississippi; and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch made the announcement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Clayton A. Dabbs is prosecuting the case.

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