Farmer sentenced in $8M cattle fraud

A former Howard County man was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Jefferson City for operating two cattle fraud schemes in which 28 victims, including The Callaway Bank in Fulton, as well as numerous individuals, lost nearly $8 million.

Kevin Ray Asbury, 44, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison without parole.

On Aug. 21, Asbury pleaded guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Asbury admitted he was involved in two separate fraud schemes, both of which involved his cattle business, R&K Angus Ranch in Howard County, from December 2006 to October 2008.

Asbury’s business included soliciting investors throughout the United States to pay a portion of the purchase price for cattle, which he would raise and sell. Investors then received a predetermined return from the sale of those cattle.

Asbury’s fraud schemes involved false and fraudulent statements that he owned, bought and sold cattle when, in reality, he had not done so.

In Feburary 2007, Asbury obtained a $4 million business line of credit from The Callaway Bank. The majority of the collateral for that line of credit was to be cattle Asbury claimed to own. In reality, he did not own the cattle.

Asbury admitted he showed several thousand head of cattle to a bank representative, and claimed to own all of the cattle on land he claimed to lease.

Although Asbury claimed to own approximately 6,000 head of cattle worth approximately $7 million, in reality, he did not at any time own anywhere near that amount of cattle.

When the bank sent representatives to Asbury’s farm to recover collateral in October 2008, Asbury told them he did not own any cattle.

The bank was able to recover some collateral, including some farm equipment, but lost more than $2.7 million as a result of the scheme.

Asbury also admitted he had sold assets pledged as collateral for his business line of credit from The Callaway Bank, including cattle he did own, but did not inform the bank of the sale of those assets or provide the proceeds from those sales to the bank.

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