Cheese store owner pleads guilty to theft from farmers

The state lists 83 milk producers as victims
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Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 12:01 PM CDT
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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WBAY) - A cheese company owner has pleaded guilty to felony theft from more than 80 farmers in central Wisconsin.

Michael J. Moran is the owner of Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese Company in Rudolph. He was sentenced to one year probation, 100 hours of community service and nearly $10,000 in fines, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Moran pre-paid restitution in the amount of $21,250.97. That money will be distributed to the victims.

“I’m proud of the work Wisconsin Department of Justice did to get justice for these hard-working Wisconsinites,” said Attorney General Kaul. “This case has ensured that 83 farmers got the money they were owed and hopefully will deter future theft from Wisconsin dairy farmers.”

Dozens of Wood County farmers who provide milk to the cheese company alleged that Moran forged their names on underpayment checks and used the funds for his own use or for others. Underpayment checks are written to producers when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sets the price of milk higher than what the processor paid.

A criminal complaint states Moran would forge signatures on the back of the checks and place them in a cash register at the cheese store. The checks would be taken to a bank and deposited.

The victims lost more than $21,000. They’ll get that money back from the restitution payment.

The state lists 83 milk producers as victims. Twenty-one of those victims are over the age of 60.

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