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Arizona rancher gets 41-month prison term for fraud schemes

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Posted at 6:19 AM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 09:19:44-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona rancher has been sentenced to nearly 3 ½ years in federal prison for his role in embezzlement and wire fraud schemes. Prosecutors say 62-year-old Donald Hugh Nichols of Coolidge received a 41-month prison term after pleaded guilty to wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

Between 2013 and 2017, prosecutors say Nichols engaged in a scheme to steal cattle from the Marana Stockyards and Livestock Market, an entity which hosts weekly livestock auctions for Arizona ranchers.

As a cattle broker for third-party buyers, Nichols also illegally bid on his own cattle without the buyers’ knowledge or consent. Prosecutors say some of the cattle that Nichols purchased on behalf of third-party buyers were stolen from Marana Stockyards.