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Mid-Mo. grain dealer charged with fraud

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A mid-Missouri grain dealer has been charged with swindling farmers out of millions of dollars.

Cathy Gieseker of Martinsburg is facing 12 state felony counts, for stealing by deceit, filing false records, and violating the state's merchandising practices act. She is also facing federal charges.

Attorney General Chris Koster says Gieseker promised farmers that she could sell their grain for higher-than-market prices.

"In reality, Ms. Gieseker's plan was little more than a Ponzi scheme...our investigation indicates that Ms. Gieseker deceived at least 180 Missouri farm families," Koster said.

The amount of money lost is estimated between $27 million and $50 million. If convicted, Koster says Gieseker could receive up to 120 years in prison.

Gieseker turned herself in today to federal authorities in St. Louis, following the unsealing of an indictment.

Missouri Agriculture Director Dr. Jon Hagler says the alleged victims will have a chance to make their claims heard.

"The Department of Agriculture will be conducting an administrative hearing for the resolution and disposition of those claims...the hearing is open to the public, and the claimants will be given an opportunity to ask questions related to their claims," Hagler said.

The hearing is scheduled for Friday, August 7th, at 10:00AM, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Martinsburg.