Four people associated with one of the nation's largest cattle brokerages have been charged with what state prosecutors describe as a check-kiting scheme that cost 172 cattle producers in Kentucky more than $840,000.
A grand jury on Thursday in Metcalfe County in southern Kentucky charged 71-year-old Thomas "Tommy" Gibson, one of the founders of the company, and three others with engaging in organized crime between 2009 and 2010.
The indictment further charges all four with 172 counts of theft by deception.
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said New Albany, Ind.-based Eastern Livestock may owe more than 700 ranchers across the Midwest, South and West a total of $130 million from bad checks.
A message left at Eastern Livestock was not immediately returned.