Two men pled guilty Wednesday, in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Paducah Division, to stealing over $350,000 from a Lyon County grain elevator company.
According to court documents, 61 year-old Gerald Kent Kingston of Elkton was formerly employed as manager at Gavilon Grain, which operates a grain elevator in Eddyville.
A local farmer Bobby Joe Merrick of Princeton had contracted with Gavilon Grain to sell his corn, wheat and soybeans at the grain elevator.
According to documents, between September 19, 2016 and May 5, 2021, Kingston and Merrick devised a scheme to defraud Gavilon Grain by creating multiple scale tickets for each truck load of crop that Merrick delivered.
Kingston electronically submitted the scale tickets to Gavilon Grain’s headquarters in Nebraska for payment.
The scheme caused Merrick to be paid twice for each truck load of crop he delivered.
During court proceedings, Kingston and Merrick admitted that Merrick was paid $354,870.11 for phantom loads of product.
After receiving payment from Gavilon Grain, Merrick would make a cash payment to Kingston.
Kingston and Merrick both pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud.
As part of the plea agreement, they will be required to pay $354,870.11 in restitution to Gavilon Grain.
Both men are scheduled to be sentenced on August 24.