Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

January 3, 2013

Eastern Livestock executives plead guilty in federal court

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Guilty plea agreements have been filed in a federal case involving two Eastern Livestock, LLC, executives, more than a year after they were indicted.

Thomas P. “Tommy” Gibson and Michael Steven McDonald pleaded guilty in December to one count of mail fraud in U.S. District Court. Gibson and McDonald were indicted on Sept. 21, 2011, for a six-year scheme to artificially inflate Eastern Livestock bank accounts through check kiting. The check kiting scheme came to a head in Kentucky on Nov. 2, 2010, when Fifth Third Bank closed Eastern Livestock’s account and the company issued nearly $850,000 in cold checks to local farmers at the Edmonton buying station. Gibson and McDonald, along with Grant Gibson and Darren Brangers, were also indicted in September 2011 in Metcalfe County Circuit Court for charges of criminal syndication and theft by deception. All four defendants entered guilty pleas in Metcalfe Court in March, and Tommy Gibson and McDonald’s federal case was passed until after the circuit court sentencings were finalized in June.

After initially pleading not guilty in the federal case, Gibson and McDonald filed their pleas of guilty in a change of plea hearing on Dec. 13. In the plea agreement filed the same day, Gibson and McDonald acknowledged their guilt and waived any rights associated with a trial. As part of the plea, the defendants agreed to forfeitures of multiple accounts.

Brian Butler, Gibson’s Louisville defense attorney, said his client never intended to hurt anyone, and they are glad the case is now making progress.

“He’s taken full responsibility for what’s happened,” Butler said.

For the full story, see the print or e-edition of Friday's Glasgow Daily Times.