PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Three members of a South Dakota family accused of bilking millions from farmers due to risky speculation in the grain business have been sentenced to time behind bars.
Jared Steffensen and his wife, Tami Steffensen, pleaded guilty earlier to theft by deception and were sentenced Friday to five years in prison. Jared Steffensen’s mother, JoAnn Steffensen, pleaded guilty to failing to inform state regulators that the company was failing financially and was ordered to serve 120 days in jail with two years in prison suspended.
Authorities say Jared Steffensen lost between $6 million to $10 million of H&I Grain’s money hedging commodities in 2016. Even though the Steffensens knew that their business was insolvent, they continued to reassure farmers they were fine and took their grain.