A former Clinton County grain elevator operator has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for mail fraud.
John Kniepmann, 48, of Breese, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court for two counts of mail fraud when he operated the Grain Exchange and Consolidated Exchange. Following his sentence, Kniepmann will be under three years of supervised release and has been ordered to pay $108,482.40 in restitution.
Kniepmann had already pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding and withholding information from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and a bank during an 11-month period in 2007 and 2008. During his plea, Kniepmann admitted that in December 2006, he falsely increased an insurance claim by $34,400 regarding a fire at his former grain elevator, Consolidated Exchange in Carlyle. He also admitted to defrauding the First State Bank of Eldorado by selling $87,161.76 worth of grain that was collateral for a loan taken out by his businesses, Consolidated Exchange Inc. and the Grain Exchange, LLC, and then hiding the sale from the bank that was holding the loan.
Federal prosecutors said Kniepmann used proceeds from the frauds to pay personal debts and for vacations and building a home in Breese.
Grain Exchange LLC and Consolidated Exchange Inc., which Kniepmann operated in Carlyle, Bartelso, Germantown and Sandoval, have since been sold.
Contact reporter Will Buss at email@example.com or 239-2526.