KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri farmer pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from a cattle fraud scheme he tried to cover with murder.
Garland “Joey” Nelson, 28, of Braymer, Missouri, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm during a hearing Tuesday morning.
The guilty plea means Nelson admitted to defrauding Diemel’s Livestock, a Wisconsin company.
A federal judge ordered Nelson to turn over at least $215,936 to the government, which prosecutors said were the proceeds of the scheme.
Nelson will be sentenced at a future date, but he faces up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus another two years for being a felon in possession of a gun.
In a separate case, Nelson pleaded guilty Friday to the murders of Nicholas and Justin Diemel, two brothers who owned Diemel’s Livestock.
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.
A federal indictment shows 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 sold, traded, and/or killed many of the Diemels’ cattle without remitting the payments to the Diemels.
Nelson continued to fraudulently bill the Diemels for feed and yardage for cattle that had been sold, traded, or had died.
The Diemels visited Nelson in July 2019, in an effort to force Nelson to pay them the $215,000 he owed.
The brothers disappeared while on that visit. Their burned remains were later found in Missouri and Nebraska.
As part of the plea deal, Nelson admitted shooting the Diemels, burning their bodies in a farm pasture, and disposing of their remains.
A judge then sentenced Nelson to two life sentences, without the possibility of parole. The sentences will run consecutively.