June 27--ST. LOUIS -- A grain elevator manager's scheme to inflate the prices he paid for corn, soybeans and other commodities cost Maryland Heights-based Bunge North America more than $1 million, a federal indictment made public Thursday says.
Coleman Carpenter, 36, of Troy, Tenn., managed the elevator in Hickman, Ky., at the time. The indictment says that beginning in 2009, instead of paying farmers, producers and dealers the company-approved and authorized price, Carpenter would sometimes pay inflated prices. In 2013, 61 percent of futures contracts contained inflated prices, prosecutors claim.
In one example, an overpayment on 60,000 bushels of corn on Aug. 1, 2013, cost Bunge$37,950.
The indictment doesn't suggest a motive for Carpenter, but does claim that he accepted at least two payments from customers, including a check for $10,000 in 2010.
Carpenter was indicted late Wednesday on one count of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
No lawyer is listed for Carpenter in court records and a call to his home was not immediately returned.
In a statement, Bunge North America spokesperson Deb Seidel said, "Bunge reported concerns about its former employee's business practices to federal authorities and has fully cooperated with the government in its investigation."
Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.
(c)2014 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services