United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Dupree, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Conversion of Mortgaged or Pledged Property.
Daris William LaPlante, age 51, was indicted on August 11, 2020. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on August 25, 2020, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is five years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The Indictment alleges that between October 19, 2016, and December 27, 2019, LaPlante, with intent to defraud, did knowingly sell cattle mortgaged and pledged by LaPlante to the Farm Service Agency, an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, without the permission and consent of the Farm Service Agency, having a value over $1,000. LaPlante sold these cattle at several auction houses throughout South Dakota and kept the proceeds for himself.
The charge is merely an accusation and LaPlante is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron J. Cook is prosecuting the case.
LaPlante was released on bond pending trial. A trial date has not been set.