Farmer sentenced to prison for falsifying documents

A man who created false documents to convince Farm Credit Services of America (FCSA) to give him and his son loans totaling more than $3.8 million was sentenced Dec. 21 to 33 months in federal prison.

Michael Royster, 53, from Clear Lake, received the prison term after a guilty plea to providing false documents to FCSA.

In a plea agreement, Royster admitted that, in an effort to get $3.8 million in credit for 2015 farming expenses, he created fake contracts to mislead FCSA into thinking that local cooperatives or other purchasers were storing more of his and his son’s corn and soybeans than what they actually had in storage.

Royster created the fake documents by cutting and pasting additional digits on the actual contracts and then making photocopies of the altered documents.  He admitted, for example, to falsifying a contract showing a cooperative had approximately 20,000 bushels of his corn by adding a 1 to make it appear as though the cooperative instead held 120,000 bushels.

As part of the plea agreement, Royster admitted to creating and using similar fake documents to get loans in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Royster was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade.  Royster was sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment, and a special assessment of $100 was imposed.  He was also ordered to make $1,133,821.31 in restitution to FCSA.  He must also serve a term of supervised release after the prison term.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jacob A. Schunk and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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