clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MORE CHARGES FILED IN CATTLE FRAUD PROBE

An ongoing investigation into an elaborate money-laundering and cattle fraud ring in Millard County has netted three more sets of criminal charges.

The Utah attorney general's Office on Wednesday filed multiple felony counts against a Sandy man, his girlfriend and the operator of an Idaho cattle ranch stemming from reports of theft of more than $500,000 from a Colorado firm that lends money to cattlemen to buy livestock.Charges were filed against Jeffrey Val Palmer, 36, of Sandy, identified as the operations manager of the Millard County Cattle Co.; Tom Patteson, 56, owner of the Tom Patteson Cattle Co. in Buhl, Idaho, and Suanne Fullmer, 39, Sandy, identified in court documents as Palmer's girlfriend.

Millard County deputy sheriff Chuck Stewart said additional charges may be forthcoming.

Palmer was charged last month in 4th District Court with 10 counts of theft and theft by deception for allegedly stealing 243 head of cattle from a business partner in an attempt to hide the monetary thefts when the Colorado finance company, ATS Management, became suspicious and sent a private investigator to start poking around.

"I've been in this business for 27 years, and I've never seen anything this complicated before," Stewart said.

The new charges say Palmer's boss, Millard County Cattle Co. owner David O. Black, set up a $1.5 million credit line with ATS for the purchase of cattle. Palmer, as operations manager, was given control over that money.

Between April and July of 1994, he allegedly wrote more than $444,000 in checks to Patteson for the purchase of several hundred head of cattle.

But Patteson told investigators he never sold any cattle to Black or Palmer during that period and said Palmer forged the purchase papers ATS required before releasing the funds.

According to Stewart and court documents, that money was funnelled into a variety of different accounts and then withdrawn for personal use, including the purchase of furniture for Palmer's home in Sandy.

At one point, according to the complaint and attached affidavit, Palmer allegedly attempted to fake cattle sales and had a friend write two checks for $458,000 to ATS. They bounced.

Deeply concerned, ATS sent private investigator Dean Newman to Utah in July 1994 to talk to Palmer. Palmer reportedly took him to a ranch in Colorado and showed him cattle he represented were purchased from the Millard County Cattle Co. by the person who wrote the checks.

It turned out, the complaint said, the cattle did not belong to MCC. Palmer later allegedly told Newman that he had lost $500,000 in ATS money on the commodities market.

Palmer is charged with 13 counts of theft by deception and two counts of communications fraud; Patteson is charged with 10 counts of theft by deception and Fullmer is charged with a single count of theft by deception.

All the charges are second-degree felonies, punishable by prison terms of from one-to-15 years.