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Grain handler who bilked farmers out of $3.2 million is released early from prison

Cary Ashby • Jul 26, 2019 at 10:00 PM

A Monroeville man convicted of failing to pay area farmers their shares of the profits has been released early from prison.

Richard J. Schwan, 80, was granted judicial release Wednesday and placed on three years of probation. In addition, he faces a 90-day discretionary jail sentence, which can be imposed by his probation officer at any time and in any amount without a hearing.

In August 2018, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced Schwan to four years in prison.

The defendant earlier pleaded guilty to: Attempted aggravated theft, falsification in a theft offense, delayed price agreement and two counts of aggravated theft. As part of a plea deal, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office agreed to dismiss the remaining 35 charges, provided Schwan repaid $3.2 million in restitution and an additional $105,358.50 to cover the cost of the investigation. The money will be used to reimburse the farmers, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund. All state farmers pay into the fund.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture investigated the case. Schwan did business as Schwan Grain Inc. and was registered with the state as a grain handler. The company transported and sold grain on behalf of 35 farmers from Erie, Huron, Lorain, Richland and Seneca counties.

In another Huron County case, Leigha R. Lacy, 29, most recently of Willard, was sentenced Wednesday to 6 1/2 years in prison for aggravated trafficking in drugs and two counts of corrupting another with drugs.

As part of a May 30 plea deal, Lacy had to forfeit a Chrysler 200, phones and an undisclosed amount of money plus pay a $5,000 fine.

In other hearings:

• Sterling E. Burton, 37, of Shelby, was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in the Huron County Jail for an undisclosed probation violation and was unsuccessfully terminated from community control. His underlying conviction was aggravated possession of carfentanil.

• Jeremy R. Manus, 37, formerly of 42 Gallup Ave., was sentenced Wednesday to serve a three- to six-month term at the Lake Erie Community Corrections Center (LECCC) for an undisclosed probation violation. His underlying conviction was receiving stolen property. LECCC is a halfway house in Sandusky.

• Jared D. Nichols, 32, formerly of Willard, was sentenced Wednesday to complete the programming at Volunteers of America for gross sexual imposition. He was classified as a Tier 1 sex offender, which requires him to register his address with the sheriff’s office for 15 years. During his three years of probation, he must pay a $250 fine and $40 in restitution.

• Jonathan B. Shepherd, 41, of Bloomville, pleaded guilty to Monday one count each of theft and breaking and entering. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed one charge each of receiving stolen property and breaking and entering. Shepherd, who was in jail as of Monday, will be sentenced Sept. 4.

• Eddie D. Tackett Jr., 29, formerly of 73 1/2 W. Main St., was sentenced Wednesday to 17 months in prison for two counts of trafficking in fentanyl-related compound. One of the controlled drug buys happened in the vicinity of a school.

• Amber M. Turner, 23, most recently of 419 Lyme St., Bellevue, pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and two counts of forgery. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and forgery. Turner, who was in jail as of Tuesday, will be sentenced Sept. 4.

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