SIOUX FALLS — The federal case against a Corsica man accused of committing fraud and money laundering through his custom cattle-feeding business has been moved to this fall and will have a new judge.
Robert Blom, 58, faces 32 counts of federal crimes, including nine counts of wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud and 17 counts of money laundering after being indicted by a federal grand jury in March.
This week, the federal case against Blom was delayed for 60 days to allow Blom’s attorneys to conduct additional investigations in the case, which includes a substantial amount of discovery and a large amount of witnesses. Blom is represented by Sioux Falls Assistant Federal Public Defender Amanda Kippley. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Hoffman, who is prosecuting the case, had no objection to the extension.
The case was also transferred to U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier on Wednesday from Judge Lawrence Piersol. The case is now scheduled for a jury trial in Sioux Falls starting on Oct. 13.
In what has been described as a multi-million-dollar cattle Ponzi scheme with up to $20 million in losses, Blom is alleged to have sold the same groups of cattle to multiple different investors and Blom is alleged to have altered cattle purchasing invoices to conceal that he sold the same group of cattle to multiple different investors. He’s also alleged to have falsely represented to investors that he would use their money to purchase cattle and care for them but used money from new investors to pay back old investors.
Blom faces a maximum penalty upon conviction of up to 20 years in federal prison, and/or a $250,000 fine for wire fraud and $500,000 fine for money laundering, three years of supervised release, and up to $3,200 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The federal change in judges mirrors what occurred in the civil foreclosure Blom faces in Douglas County, where Circuit Judge Bruce Anderson recused himself due to the time the case would require and an already full docket of cases. In February, fellow First Circuit Judge Tami Bern was appointed to handle the case. The Douglas County foreclosure case had 74 parties and 45 attorneys involved as of earlier this year.
In the foreclosure case, parties involved believed as many as 33,000 head of cattle were involved in contract with Blom but a receivership investigation showed only about 6,000 head actually existed because Blom sold the same cattle several times over. The sale of those cattle generated about $8 million, which is now in the receivership account.
A hearing in that case is expected later this month.