DECATUR, MI– Three former workers of Stamp Farmshave been arraigned on charges they conspired to defraud the US government preceeding and following the bankruptcy of the Decatur business.
The indictment submitted Wednesday in US District Court in Grand Rapids alleges Robert Dennis Trowbridge Jr., his brother Andrew Paul Trowbridge and Larry Thomas Stambeck conspired to dedicate bankruptcy fraud and crop insurance coverage scams in between October 2010 and July 2014 and also conspired to make incorrect statements to federal representatives and to dedicate perjury.
The 17-page filing lays out at length a conspiracy theory alleged to have actually included the trio and other individuals understood and unidentified to the grand jury.
Itis the newest development in the Stamp Farms legend that began in November 2012 when the farming operation had by Michael and Melissa Stamp filedapplied for bankruptcy after borrowing more than $65 million from Wells Fargo Bank.
MORE: Read the indictment
The US Key Service, Internal EarningsIrs and Inspector General for the United States Department of Agriculture launched a criminal investigation into potential scams in Might 2013. In October 2014, Melissa Stamp was arraigned on one count of bankruptcy fraud alleging she assisted and abetted in hiding apartment and possessions from United States Bankruptcy Court.
Stamp pleaded guilty to the felony in Decemberand is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.
Melissa Stamps brother, Steven K. Moser, also was indicted for bankruptcy scams in May 2014 and pleaded guilty to the charge in July. Moser was sentenced by US District Judge Paul L. Maloney in November to one day behind bars and purchased to pay almost $31,000 in restitution, according to court files.
The alleged conspiracy theory involving the Trowbridge siblings and Stambeck started to take shape in 2010, according to Wednesdays indictment, when an unnamed conspirator approached Andrew Trowbridge and told him they required to file a government tax type revealing Backroads Land Company had actually paid more than $150,000 in land rent to Trowbridge.
(Trowbridge) well knew and understood that he had actually not been paid roughly $150,000 by the conspirator and his businesses, the indictment states.
In spite of that, federal prosecutors say, Trowbridge concurredaccepted the plan and permittedpermitted the unnamed conspirator to submit the false tax file in his name and send it to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the indictment. The indictment states the document was submitted in early 2011 by Melissa Stamp at the instructions of the unnamed conspirator.
It is also alleged that, at the instructions of the conspirator, Melissa Stamp filed a 2nd false tax document with the Internal Revenue Service in early 2011 revealing that more than $150,000 was paid in rent by Stamp Farms to Trowbridge. Trowbridge then submitted both incorrect tax types with his federal earningstax return in 2011, according to the indictment.
While court documents do not name the conspirator, they state the conspirator managed Backroads Land Company in 2010. According to documents submitted with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Backroads Land Business was owned by Michael Stamp.
The indictment says that Robert Trowbridge Jr., who rented about 240 acres of farmland to Michael Stamp, became includedassociated with the conspiracy in 2012.
District attorneys state Stamp notified Trowbridge he was going to put crop insurance on Trowbridges land and in turn, Trowbridge later got notifications from a private insurance coverage business that took parttook part in the government Federal Crop Insurance program that the crop insurance had been provided in his name for over 300 acres.
Trowbridge well understood that the crop insurance coverage shouldntbe in his name, the indictment says, because he wasnt farming the land and owned only approximately 240 acres.
In July 2012, Trowbridge learned that an unnamed conspirator planned to filesue under the federal crop insurance coverage program policies that were in Trowbridges name. Trowbridge later on signed the claim kinds and was offered two checks by the insurance coverage company totaling $50,000.
In addition, investigators say the thousands of dollars Trowbridge received should have been divulged when Stamp Farms submitted bankruptcy in November 2012 as part of the estate of the debtor. Instead, Trowbridge kept the moneythe cash at the guidance of an unnamed conspirator and transferred the 2 insurance coverage check out his savings account in February or March 2013. In doing this, he knowingly and unlawfully assisted and abetted the concealment of the crop insurance coverage payments from the bankruptcy court, the indictment states.
Investigators likewise say Michael Stamp, prior to filing for bankruptcy more than 2 years ago, owned a tractor valued at more than $100,000. Throughout the bankruptcy case, the place of the tractor, which wasstored in a barn on ability belonging to Andrew Trowbridge, was never revealed to the court.
The indictment says the Trowbridges assisted and abetted in hiding the existence of the tractor and prior to surrendering it to the court purposefully and intentionally placed cheaper parts on the pulling tractor and kept the more expensive parts for themselves in violation of federal law.
Whenquestioned about the tractor under oath during depositions in 2013 for the bankruptcy case, the Trowbridges provided incorrect statement about whether they had actually offeredreturned all of the tractor parts to the bankruptcy court, the indictment says. They likewise lied to federal representatives when questioned about the tractor in 2014, it alleges
Investigators likewise allege that in spring 2012, the Trowbridges and Stambeck concurred to have Michael Stamp farm land that each of them had knowing that Stamps farmland went through liens from bank loans. They also understood any crops grown on such lands were to be delivered to grain elevators that track the quantity of crops grown by a farmer. Stamps crops, according to the indictment, were typically provided to grain elevators owned and operated by Stamp at his business, Northstar Grain, in Decatur.
However, in fall 2012, an unnamed conspirator arranged for the bank pledged crops to be sent out to a grain elevator in Hamilton and each guy paid the shipping charges. Around the exact same time, the Trowbridges accepted a $20,000 payment for crops grown by a conspirator as part of a scheme that defrauded banks and numerous parties with a financial interest in the conspirators crops, the indictment alleges. It states Stambeck got $55,000 frrom the scheme.
In spring 2013, investigators allege, Stambeck and the Trowbridges dedicated bankruptcy scams when they filed claims and got payments from the bankruptcy court for cash they alleged they were owed by Stamp and his business.
In each instance, the Trowbridges and Stambeck failed to reveal cash they got for the crops that were diverted to Hamilton, according to the indictment.
Rex Hall Jr. is a public safety reporter for the Kalamazoo Gazette. You can reachhim at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter.