South Dakota man accused of running cattle Ponzi scheme


RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man faces federal charges that he ran a multi-million-dollar cattle Ponzi scheme.

A federal grand jury earlier this month indicted Robert Blom, 58, of Corsica on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. Blom pleaded not guilty to the indictment Monday, U.S. Attorney for South Dakota Ronald Parsons said.

The indictment alleges that around January 2014 and continuing through February 2019, Blom devised a scheme to defraud investors. As part of his custom cattle-feeding business, Blom solicited investors for groups of cattle. After the cattle were sold, Blom paid profits to investors in the groups. But prosecutors allege Blom sold the same groups of cattle to multiple different investors.

Prosecutors allege Blom sometimes altered the cattle purchase invoices to try to conceal that he sold the same group of cattle to different investors.

Blom also is accused of telling investors he would use their money to purchase groups of cattle and to care for those cattle. But instead, he is accused of routinely using money from new investors to pay back old investors.

So far the loss is estimated at about $20 million. Blom was released on bond pending trial. A trial date has not been set.