Friday, February 16, 2024

Coleman To Plead Guilty in Express Grain Fraud

 This post is reprinted with permission of The Taxpayers Channel (Greenwood) website. 

John Coleman, former president of the now-bankrupt Express Grain, has a scheduled hearing in federal district court to enter a change of plea in the criminal fraud case in the Express Grain collapse.

The hearing is set for Thursday, February 22 in the Oxford Federal Building at 9:30 am before Federal District Court Judge Michael P. Mills. The court notice of the hearing may be seen here: Notice of hearing for Change of Plea

Coleman, who was indicted in November 2022, had previously pleaded not guilty on all the fraud counts for which he was charged in both state and federal court.

Meanwhile, his fraud trials in both of the state and federal cases have been continued repeatedly at the request of his criminal defense attorney, John Colette. In some of the motions for continuance, Colette hinted that a plea deal might be in the works.

Coleman had been on the Leflore County Circuit Court's docket scheduled for his state court criminal trial on January 23 of this year. To review that docket sheet, see here: Judge Carey-McCray Docket Sheet for January 22-26, 2024

But in late December 2023, Circuit Court Judge Margaret Carey-McCray signed an order continuing his state court trial until April 16, 2024. 

Coleman was charged with multiple counts of fraud relating to allegations he tampered with and falsified critical financial audit reports that he then provided to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce in order to gain license renewals for the Express Grain operations.

Additionally, Coleman was charged with providing the fake audit reports to UMB Bank, the chief lender to Express Grain. He also is alleged to have provided falsified inventory reports to UMB Bank, upon which EG's line of credit was based.

Finally, Coleman was charged with providing false information to local farmers about the stability of EG, in order to induce them to deliver their grain to the company.

When certain of these false reports and statements were discovered, EG collapsed in bankruptcy.

Even after liquidation, EG was unable to repay over $130 million in debts to farmers, other vendors, and a host of banks and financing companies.

UMB Bank, the single largest creditor, is still owed over $35 million according to its amended claim filed with the bankruptcy court.

Farmers who delivered grain to EG were cheated out of over $40 million even after the grain settlement money was distributed.

To read more of our reporting on Mr. Coleman's criminal cases, see here: John Coleman's federal criminal trial put off until November 27, 2023

Presumably, at the change of plea hearing, Coleman will withdraw his not guilty plea, and plead guilty to some charges based upon a plea agreement, the terms of which have not yet been disclosed.

In this way, the need for a full criminal trial on the federal charges will be avoided.

Usually in cases such as this, where similar federal and state charges have been lodged against a defendant, a guilty plea in federal court is soon followed by a similar plea on the state court charges. 

Kingfish note: JJ post on indictment. JJ post on state indictments


Anonymous said...

As they said in the Judge Roy Bean movie, “We are going to give him a fair trial, and then hang him.”

Anonymous said...

I hope he gets a long sentence. He deserves far more punishment than he will get.

Anonymous said...

I guess his lawyers have milked him until he is dry.

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that Dr. Michael Coleman seems to have slipped the noose.

Anonymous said...

@4:29 I agree. Dr. Coleman knew what was going on. His son was the con artist, but he knew. And unfortunately he will get away like a bandit.

Anonymous said...


Steve said...

Ole “Bleed em and plead em” Colette. Why people pay this guy to get guilty pleas just boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

Plea bargain. Light sentence. Somewhere on this planet is over $100 million that has never been found.

Anonymous said...

6:35, Try doing it yourself, if you ever get indicted. Report back and let us know how it worked out for you.

Anonymous said...

Well, the lawyers managed to drag this case out for a year and a half at the farmers expense.

Steve said...


6:35 here. I don’t plan on ever needing a skilled defense attorney but if I do it won’t be Colette.

Anonymous said...

Quite a few scumbags using him these days

Anonymous said...

I suggested Colette will engage the same continuances and delays in the Warnock scenario and will wind up with a change of plea.

Guess Kingfish objected to that probability. I think there have so far been four continuances in the Warnock trial.

In fact my rejected post mirrors that of 'Steve' which is posted above.

Anonymous said...

Reading the tea leaves I'd say the prosecution and defense have aired out their sides of the story, and Coleman now faces a choice: fight it in court, but if he is convicted he will get a very heavy sentence....or plead guilty for the deal offer of a lighter sentence. It's the rock and the hard place, as they say.

Anonymous said...

Colette managed ft get that Mardis man only 20 years with 3 suspended for slapping around his wife a little bit.

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