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February 6 , 2009

MADIGAN: IROQUOIS COUNTY MAN INDICTED ON THEFT CHARGES AND GRAIN CODE VIOLATIONS

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that the former president of a defunct Iroquois County grain elevator has been indicted on theft charges and violations of the Illinois Grain Code.

An Iroquois County grand jury Thursday returned the indictment against Mikel Freeman, 57, of Milford, on 15 counts of theft and 10 counts of violating the Illinois Grain Code. Freeman is the former President of A-Way, Inc., which operated grain elevators in Crescent City and Onarga. The indictment alleges that Freeman sold grain that he did not own and benefited by concealing the activity from the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and used the money to pay business expenses on other ventures in which he had an interest.

A warrant for Freeman's arrest was issued upon the return of the indictment. Freeman posted bond Thursday afternoon and is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges March 5, 2009.

Ten of the 15 theft counts are Class 1 felonies punishable by a sentence of four to 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). Five counts of theft are Class 2 felonies with a maximum penalty of three to seven years in the IDOC. All of the counts are probationable except the first count of theft. Violations of the Illinois Grain Code are Class 2 felonies.

The IDOA performs periodic inspections of grain operations to ensure compliance with regulations in the Illinois Grain Code. In August 2007, a routine inspection by IDOA discovered a sizeable discrepancy between the amount of corn and beans actually stored at the Crescent City elevator and the amount shown on records Freeman provided to the IDOA inspector.

Madigan's Criminal Prosecutions/Trials Assistance Bureau and Iroquois County State's Attorney James Devine are jointly prosecuting the case. Assistant Attorney General Martin VanKampen is handling the case for Madigan's office.

The public is reminded that these are merely charges and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

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