Ex-Minnesota grain elevator manager charged with mail fraud

Ashby, Minn. (AP) The former manager of a western Minnesota grain elevator who disappeared after allegedly stealing nearly $5 million is charged in federal court with mail fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 56-year-old Jerry Hennessey surrendered and made his initial court appearance Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint, Hennessey defrauded the Ashby Farmers' Co-Operative Elevator Co. in Ashby for 15 years, from 2003 through at least September 2018. The Star Tribune reports he allegedly spent the money on exotic hunting safaris, taxidermy and credit card debt.

This September, the co-op contacted authorities about payments Hennessey made to himself or for his personal expenses. When the co-op asked to meet with Hennessey, he didn't show up and instead met a friend who drove him to Des Moines, Iowa.

Hennessey's friends told investigators he told them he had taken money from his employer and was in trouble.