Final judgement entered in Lyons civil suit

The final judgment in the lawsuit against Tony Lyon was signed by 271st Judicial District Judge John Fostel last Friday.

On January 20, a Jack County jury found Tony Lyon and his parents, Monna and Owen Lyon were responsible for defrauding Nebraska-based cattle broker Midwestern Cattle Marketing and awarded the highest jury verdict in the county’s history — $23.2 million.

The Lyons’ check-kiting scheme collapsed June 26, 2015 when a $5 million check on the Lyon Farms account at Legend Bank in Decatur bounced.

Fort Worth attorney Chris Trowbridge, representing Midwestern Cattle, said the company began doing business with Lyon Farms in 2011. 

“Everything worked fine for three years,” Trowbridge said. “After years of doing business with them, Midwestern Cattle had given Lyon Farms a checkbook and a signature stamp and Lyon Farms gave Midwestern some pre-signed checks.”

The attorney said it is not unusual in the cattle industry to give the person on-site who is buying cattle a checkbook and a signature stamp. The USDA requires payment be made to the livestock seller within 24 hours and ranchers require payment on delivery because cattle is a perishable good.

In December 2014, Tony Lyon told Midwestern Cattle that he had met a big money buyer named John George who wanted to buy a very large amount of cattle. Trowbridge said that’s not unusual in the industry either. 

“That in and of itself was not suspicious to Midwestern Cattle,” he said. “All of a sudden, the volume of transactions began to increase in number of head and dollar amounts. That’s when we believe the check kiting scheme started.”

But the buyer, John George, did not exist and from February 2015 through June 26, 2015, there were 188 fraudulent transactions.

To read the complete article, see the February 10 edition of the Herald-Gazette.

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