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.