South Dakota Ponzi cattle scheme operator gets 91 months in prison

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Cattle producers for 35 years have been bankrolling one of the nation’s most iconic marketing campaigns. But now, many want to end the program, claiming they’re no longer reaping any rewards. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik File)

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota feedlot operator who pleaded guilty to operating a Ponzi cattle scheme has been sentenced to nearly eight years in prison.

Prosecutors say Robert Blom, of Corsica, resold the same cattle to multiple investors and made a profit of about $24 million from 2014 to 2019. He resold cattle he didn’t have, falsified invoices and used the money to pay back prior investors.

Blom was sentenced to 91 months in prison Thursday on charges of wire fraud and money laundering. As part of a plea bargain, 30 other counts were dropped.

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