Moran waives preliminary hearing
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The man accused of defrauding 83 farmers is scheduled to reach a plea deal in April.
Michael Moran, owner of Dairy State Cheese in Rudolph, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Feb. 24 in Wood County Circuit Court.
On Jan. 28, Moran was charged with one count of felony theft of the farmers who provide milk to his business.
The complaint alleged that Moran forged the names of farmers on underpayment checks and converted the funds for his own use or the use of others. Processors, such as cheese plants, write underpayment checks to producers, such as dairy farmers, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets the price of milk higher than what a processor initially paid for the milk. USDA auditors determine the amount of underpayment and order processors to issue the underpayment checks.
The complaint claims that after the defendant would forge the payees’ signatures on the back of the checks, he would then place them in the cash register at the cheese store thereby converting them for his own use, all without the consent of the payees. The checks from the register would then be taken together to the bank at the end of the week and deposited.
Approximately 83 milk producers are reported to have been victimized. The total loss for the producers amounts to $21,250.97.
An attorney for Dairy State Cheese confirmed that the business’ corporate structure has changed, and Moran is no longer the company’s president or on the board of directors.
Moran is free on a $5,000 signature bond.