Sherman man pleads guilty to illegally selling livestock

BUFFALO – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced Tuesday that Timothy Deland, 28, of Sherman, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, to theft of property mortgaged or pledged to the Farm Services Agency. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Assistant U.S. Kathleen A. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that in October 2008, the defendant worked as a farmhand in Sherman and negotiated a deal to purchase cows from the farm where he worked. On Oct. 29, 2008, Deland obtained a loan for $212,775 from the Farm Services Agency to purchase the cows and some machinery, using the cows and machinery as collateral.

In early 2011, the defendant left the farm where he was working for financial reasons and moved to another farm, located near Sherman. In March 2011, Deland petitioned the FSA to relocate the cows to a farm in Tennessee but his petition was denied. The defendant appealed the denial. The FSA did not approve the move and accelerated Deland’s loan payments. From March 2011 through January 20, 2012, after being denied by the FSA, Deland sold approximately 90 cows to livestock companies and individuals.

The defendant received multiple contacts from FSA which informed him that equipment and livestock were unaccounted for and instructed Deland to account for and report the loan securities.

On Aug. 1, 2012, the defendant was interviewed by the United States Department of Agriculture. During the interview, Deland signed a sworn statement acknowledging selling the cows valued at $110,125.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of William G. Squires Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Northeast Region.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3 at 9 a.m. before Judge Skretny.