A former manager at one of the nation’s largest grain cooperatives has pleaded guilty to accepting $480,000 in bribes from an Iowa farmer in exchange for deep discounts on products.
Former West Central Co-Op sales manager Chad Hartzler faces a 51-month prison sentence under the terms of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett will decide whether to accept the plea deal at Hartlzer’s sentencing hearing, which hasn’t been set. Hartzler was released after pleading guilty to wire fraud during a hearing Thursday in Sioux City.
He admitted to taking bribes from Lake View farmer Bill Wollesen starting in 2005. In exchange, he secretly gave Wollesen discounts on crop seed and farm chemicals.
Wollesen has not been charged and he denies the bribery allegations.