KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A northern Missouri farmer, already sentenced in the murders of two Wisconsin brothers, has now been sentenced in a $215,000 cattle fraud scheme.
A federal judge sentenced Garland “Joey” Nelson, of Braymer, Missouri, to 32 years in federal prison without parole.
He will also be required to pay nearly $261,000 in restitution.
In October 2022, Nelson pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Nelson admitted to defrauding Diemel’s Livestock, a Wisconsin company owned by Nicholas and Justin Diemel.
Nelson agreed to feed and pasture cattle belonging to Diemel’s Livestock. Nelson was supposed to sell the cattle and send the proceeds to the Diemels.
Federal court documents say the Diemels sent several loads of cattle to Nelson from November 2018 through April 2019. Nelson sold some loads of cattle and paid the Diemels.
However, Nelson also sold, traded and/or killed many of the Diemels’ cattle without sending the payments to the Diemels. The Missouri farmer admitted he didn’t properly care for the cattle and hundreds died due to underfeeding, neglect and/or maltreatment.
But prosecutors say Nelson continued to fraudulently bill the Diemels for feed and yardage for cattle that had been sold, traded or had died, court records say.
Court records say Nelson sent the Diemel brothers a bad check for over $215,000 when his bank account had only 21 cents in it. The check was also damaged so they couldn’t deposit it. He then told the two they could come Missouri to get their payment.
The Diemel brothers visited Nelson in July 2019 in an effort to force Nelson to pay them over $215,000 he owed.
The brothers disappeared while on that visit to Missouri. Their burned remains were later found in Missouri and Nebraska.
As part of the plea deal, Nelson admitted to shooting the Diemels, burning their bodies in a farm pasture, and disposing of their remains.
In that case, Nelson pleaded guilty last year to murdering the Diemel brothers. He is already serving two life sentences for that case. The federal sentence will be served consecutively with the state sentence.