Man charged in pig deaths pleads to bank fraud


Jeff Reinitz, The Courier (IA)

June 22, 2022


CEDAR FALLS — A Cedar Falls man accused of allowing hundreds of pigs to starve to death in December has pleaded to fraud charges.


Nolan Otto DeWall, 38, pleaded to one count of bank fraud in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids on June 7.


Sentencing will be at a later date.


DeWall was a general manager of an agricultural cooperative and part owner of a trucking company, and in 2018 he allegedly embarked on check-kiting scheme between the business’ bank accounts to falsely inflate the value of the accounts in order to cover checks and delay their financial obligations, according to court records.


He was indicted in March 2022 following lawsuits and a bankruptcy filing in the resulting aftermath.


In addition to the trucking company and coop, DeWall ran a farm located on South Butler Road in rural Cedar Falls.


The DeWall farm included livestock feeding and row crops with two new hog confinement buildings with a total capacity of 2,500 pigs financed by Farmers State Bank. The farm ran into problems with low commodity prices and high operating costs with the crops. A storm destroyed the cattle-feeding building, and a hog producer didn’t pay the full amount of their feeding contract, according to bankruptcy filings.


In addition, disease problems for sows meant the farm wasn’t able to find enough hogs fill its confinement buildings for feeding contracts, and Farmers State Bank filed for foreclosure, sparking the bankruptcy in July 2021.


Meanwhile, former business associates of DeWall allege he mislead GNB Bank of Grundy Center about the financial condition of the cooperative – Voorhies Grain Inc. – in an effort to secure $8.5 million in financing for the operation, according to a court action brought by Harold and Julie Sorensen, who personally guaranteed the promissory notes.


DeWall allegedly came up with counterfeit grain receipts and overstated the value of soybeans held by Voorhies, the Sorensens allege. This included using soybeans to top off bins of corn to make it appear that the bins were filled exclusively with the more expensive soybeans, court records allege. This mixture resulted in further damage from spoilage, according to court records.


GNB ultimately filed a fraud claim with its insurance carrier, leaving the Sorensens with a $2 million debt to the bank, court records state….