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Grain trader sentenced to 8 years for $11 million sales scam

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A former North Dakota grain trader who admitted to bilking farmers, elevators and commodity brokers out of millions of dollars has been sentenced to serve eight years in prison.

Twenty-two-year-old Hunter Hanson, who became involved in the business shortly out of high school, pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud and money laundering for defrauding about 60 sellers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Canada.

Court documents show that Hanson contracted with the victims to buy crops and either failed to pay them or sent them checks that bounced. Hanson allegedly had no grain marketing training or experience.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ordered Hanson, of Leeds, to pay back more than $11 million. U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley says the government will “offset the losses to the degree possible.”

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