Acting United States Attorney Robert C. Stuart announced Monday that Benedict T. Palen, Jr., age 63, of Denver, Colorado, was sentenced for his conviction on one count of mail fraud. United States District Court Judge Robert F. Rossiter sentenced Palen on May 5, 2017 to a term of probation of five years. Palen was further ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and to pay the remaining unpaid restitution in the amount of $2,500.
In September of 2012, Palen, acting through his company, Great Plains Farms, sold a John Deere tractor to an individual in Holdrege, Nebraska for $45,000 representing it to be free and clear of liens. A $20,000 check was mailed to Palen as a down payment. On the same date, Palen sold the same tractor to an individual in North Dakota. Further investigation revealed that not only was there a lien against the tractor by a bank in Kansas, but the same tractor had actually been sold in 2011 by the defendant, as vice-president of Pull Pans, Inc., to a company in Florida. When Palen had not delivered the tractor to the Holdrege buyer by April of 2013, Palen claimed there was a discrepancy in the number of hours on the tractor and modified the agreement to provide for delivery of a different John Deere tractor thereby causing the buyer to mail a $25,000 check to Palen for the remaining amount due. However, this alternate tractor had also been sold in 2011 by Palen, as vice-president of Pull Pans, Inc., to the Florida company.
In November of 2013, Palen acting through his company, Great Plains Farms, sold a different John Deere tractor to an individual in Bertrand, Nebraska, but did not deliver it after receiving a down payment of the purchase price. This tractor also had been previously sold by Palen, as vice-president of Pull Pans, Inc. to the Florida company.
This case was investigated by the Postal Inspection Service.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to protect the integrity of the US Mail and aggressively investigate individuals such as Benedict Palen who use the mail to defraud individuals or businesses of money and property,” said Craig Goldberg, Inspector in Charge of the Denver Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, which covers Nebraska. “We want the public to know that Postal Inspectors will aggressively pursue anyone who attempts to use the Postal Service to facilitate such frauds and we will not allow the US Mail to be used to commit crimes.”