U.S. Attorney’s Office: Salesman took $480K in bribes from Iowa farmer
IOWA CITY (AP) — A former manager at one of the nation’s largest grain cooperatives has reached a plea agreement on charges that he accepted $480,000 in bribes from an Iowa farmer in exchange for deep discounts on products, his attorney said Wednesday.
Chad Hartzler, former sales manager and director of seed and crop protection at West Central Co-Op in Ralston, is scheduled to appear Thursday in federal court in Sioux City for a plea hearing. Hartzler, 45, was charged last week with one count of wire fraud under a document called an information, which signals that he has been cooperating with prosecutors and has waived his right to be indicted by a grand jury.
Hartzler’s attorney, Chris Cooklin of Ames, confirmed Wednesday that his client has reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office under which he will “admit what he did.” The details have been filed under seal. Cooklin said the deal recommends a prison term that he would not specify, and he wrote in an email that he was “personally conflicted” because he did not like the result.
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