Owner of bankrupt Mississippi grain elevator faces 30 years in prison after pleading to fraud

Published 7:42 am Monday, February 26, 2024

The owner of a bankrupt Mississippi gran elevator faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud.

John R. Coleman, 47, of Greenwood, the owner and operator Express Grain in Mississippi, pleaded guilty in federal court.

According to court documents, Coleman altered the company’s audited financial statements to receive a State warehouse license. He also lied about the amount of debt he owed on grain held at the Express Grain facility, and he claimed to farmers that Express Grain was financially healthy when the company was on the brink of bankruptcy.

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Express Grain eventually filed bankruptcy in 2021 causing widespread financial hardship for farmers across the Mississippi Delta.

Coleman faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. His sentencing hearing has been set for June 13, 2024, at 1:30 p.m.

“The fraud committed by the defendant in this case has directly and adversely impacted a large number of farmers and it is important that he be held accountable for his actions,” stated U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner.

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.