NORWALK, OH – Grain farmers in Ohio will breathe a little easier this week. A Huron County Common Pleas Court judge sentenced a man to prison for stealing more than $3 million in grain from at least 35 farmers throughout the state.
Richard J. Schwan, 79, of Monroeville, was sentenced to four years in prison for theft. He was also ordered to pay $3,222,209.70 in restitution as part of his sentence. That money has been paid in full to the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund.
“This defendant sold grain for 35 hardworking farmers, but he deliberately failed to pay them their shares of the profits. He then essentially stole from every grain farmer in the state when the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund was used to pay for the majority of the farmers’ losses,” said Attorney General Mike DeWine. “I am happy that this investigation and prosecution has secured reimbursement for the fund, the farmers, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.”
Schwan ran his own company, Schwan Grain Inc., which moved and sold grain for 35 farmers in Lorain, Erie, Hudson, Richland and Seneca counties. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) began investigating Schwan and his company and found he stole profits from his farmers from 2012 to 2014. He also reportedly filed false reports to conceal the money he owed his farmers.
After initially denying the charges, Schwan pleaded guilty in July to two felony counts of aggravated theft and one felony count each of attempted aggravated theft, falsification in a theft offense, insolvent handler, and delayed price agreement.
“I want to thank the staff at ODA and Attorney General DeWine’s office for their work in resolving this case and proving that the system works,” said ODA Director David Daniels. “The department is pleased that the victims in this case and all of Ohio’s grain farmers will get back every cent stolen from the grain indemnity fund.”