Former western Minnesota grain elevator manager pleads guilty to swindling millions

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The former manager of a western Minnesota grain elevator has pleaded guilty in a swindle that cost his employer millions of dollars.

Fifty-six-year-old Jerry Hennessey of Dalton pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of mail fraud and tax evasion.

Hennessey was accused in a 15-year scheme to defraud the Ashby Farmers’ Co-Operative Elevator Co. in Ashby, Minnesota. Prosecutors say he used the money to pay for exotic hunting trips, buy real estate and credit card debt.

Hennessey obtained a line of credit of about $7 million for the co-op by misrepresenting the amount of grain it had in storage. He then used that account to cover the illegal expenditures.

The law requires Hennessey to pay restitution. His home is on the market for nearly $800,000.

Sentencing is set for June 13.