Tony Eugene Lyon, 52, of Fort Worth, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge John McBryde to serve 120 months in federal prison following his guilty plea in November 2016 to a felony offense stemming from a $5 million cattle scheme he orchestrated, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Lyon pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
According to documents filed in the case, Lyon worked in the cattle industry in and around the town of Perrin and became well-known in the North Texas cattle markets. Lyon engaged in the buying, fattening, and selling of cattle, which included securing and cultivating pastureland for the cattle and transporting them.
Midwestern Cattle Marketing was a cattle brokering company located in Sidney, Nebraska. As a cattle brokering company, MCM bought and sold cattle for third party clients.
Lyon became a representative in North Texas for MCM and began buying and selling cattle on behalf of MCM at North Texas cattle sale barns.
In early 2014, Lyon told MCM they could save money if they bypassed the cattle sale barns and purchased directly from him. Lyon was provided with MCM checks and a signature stamp, enabling Lyon to purchase cattle using MCM checks without having to wait for authorization. When Lyon purchased cattle for MCM, he would send, via facsimile, a handwritten invoice containing the details of the sale, a computer-generated MCM invoice to reflect the transaction was then prepared. When Lyon received the MCM invoice, he would write an MCM check to the rancher from whom he purchased the cattle.
From Feb. 4, 2015, and continuing to June 29, 2015, Lyon represented to MCM that George Cattle Company, located in Fort Worth and owned by John George, bought cattle from MCM at least 130 times. Lyon maintained control of all aspects of the cattle sales transactions involving GCC, including setting the sales prices and timing of the payments to MCM; thereby facilitating a check-kiting scheme, in which he used MCM money as his own to pay various loans, debts, family and other personal concerns. Lyon’s checking account was continually overdrawn as a result of both his personal spending and the additional deficits he caused when he wrote checks from the account as purported payments to MCM for its sales to GCC. To cover the increasing deficit, Lyon wrote and deposited MCM checks into his checking account at ever-increasing amounts causing insufficient funds in the account to cover a $5 million check that Lyon wrote to purchase cattle from MCM for GCC. When contacted Lyon advised that John George agreed to provide $5.3 million to cover the NSF check, however, the account remained overdrawn. Lyon later admitted that neither John George nor GCC existed. As a result of Lyon’s scheme, MCM suffered a loss of approximately $5,137,449, causing it to go out of business.
Lyon has been ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 14. If you’d like to watch a movie about a dude who is about to go to prison, The 25th Hour is actually pretty good. Say what you will about Spike Lee, he can really crank out a good movie every now and then. Or if you’d like to watch a movie set in the cattle ranching industry, Hud is also very good. I think it won an Oscar for something. And, I mean, who doesn’t like Paul Newman?