A South Dakota jury concluded that a local cattle seller and a trucking company conspired together to defraud a rancher, ending five-years of lies, investigations and lawsuits.
According to the Argus Leader, the Hutchinson County, S.D., jury concluded that dealer David Bisson had conspired with Mihm Transportation Co. of Iowa to defraud rancher Curtis Huether.
Heuther had previously been awarded $100,000 in reimbursements and $1 million in damages from Bisson.
Huether’s case was unique, according to State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven. He initially received 70 heifers, allegedly from Indiana, in September 2008. Though billed as “open,” the heifers began to calve in early January 2009.
From there the shipment was quarantined pending further investigation. But that proved difficult for Huether’s heifers.
In a KSFY News report, the board described the case as one of the “most complex and wide-ranging schemes” they had confronted.
Officials quickly noted inconsistencies. Health records showed that the cattle had traveled from Michigan to Minnesota. The ear tags indicated that they were from South Dakota. The shipping tags put their origins in Indiana.
When asked to vouch for the cattle’s origins, both Bisson and Mihm Transportation Co. told conflicting accounts and later recanted.
“This was a tangled, confusing web,” Scott Swier, Huether’s lawyer, explained.