United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Wire Fraud.
Dallas Harkness, age 63, was indicted Oct. 7. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy Oct. 8 and pled not guilty to the indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and up to $1,600 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The indictment alleges that on beginning on or about January 2010 and continuing through Sept. 25, 2018, Harkness, who was a sales manager for Curry Seed Company located in Elk Point, devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property from others by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, using electronic wire communications.
Harkness would receive checks from Curry customers as payment or pre-payment for seed, but instead of sending the checks to Curry for deposit, Harkness would falsely and fraudulently deposit some of those checks from customers into checking account he controlled. Harkness then used the funds for his own purposes.
The charges are merely accusations and Harkness is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Harkness was released on bond pending trial. A Dec. 15 trial date has been set in Sioux Falls.
Note: Curry Seed was sold to Pioneer in 2008.