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Wood Co. Cheese Plant Owner Sentenced in Theft Case
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 07/13/2020

The owner of a Wisconsin cheese factory who pleaded guilty to felony theft charges after stealing from more than 80 of his farmer-patrons was sentenced to one year of probation. Michael Moran of the Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Co. in Rudolph was further ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay nearly $10,000 in fines and other costs.

According to the original complaint filed in January, Moran forged the names of his patrons on underpayment checks and converted the funds for his own use or the use of others. Processors like cheese plants often write underpayment checks to producers when the USDA sets the price of milk higher than what a processor initially paid for the milk.

The complaint said that after the defendant would forge the payees' signatures, he would then place the checks in the cash register at the cheese store, thereby converting them for his own use without the consent of the payees. The checks would then be taken to the bank at the end of the week for deposit.

DOJ records show that 83 Wood County milk producers were victimized. Moran has since paid restitution in the amount of $21,250, which will go back to his patrons.

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