James D. Unruh, 37, Ingalls, Kan., has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of theft of livestock, Acting U.S. Attorney Marietta Parker announced today.
In his plea, Unruh admitted he operated a starter feed yard in Finney County, Kan., where he took possession of cattle belonging to others for the purpose of feeding the cattle to increase their size before slaughter. Beginning in 2006 and continuing through September 2007, he began to steal cattle entrusted to him. He had the stolen cattle transported outside Kansas and sold without the permission of the owners.
In order to sell the cattle, he transmitted information by wire. The total value of cattle and related items Unruh stole was approximately $2 million.
Sentencing is set for June 24, 2009. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the wire fraud count and a maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the theft charge.
Parker commended the Finney County Sheriff, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch for their work on the case.