Cattlemen look for lessons in $130 million swindle

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Ranchers and others are asking what can be done to prevent future fraud after the collapse of a Midwest cattle brokerage that owes hundreds of cattlemen in dozens of states as much as $130 million.

Some ranchers say an escrow system should be developed to make sure cattle buyers’ checks clear before the animals are delivered. Others say more oversight from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is needed.

But Texas rancher John Welch says he thinks such measures are impractical in such a fast-moving business. Cattle brokers can buy and sell thousands of animals a day.

Federal agriculture officials filed a complaint last month accusing Indiana-based Eastern Livestock Co., LLC, of bouncing checks for livestock purchases and failing to maintain an adequate bond to cover its debts.

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