Businessman admits he stole more than $3M

A Monroeville man who worked with farmers in Seneca, Erie, Huron, Lorain and Richland counties must pay more than $3 million in restitution after pleading guilty to charges Monday, according to a release from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Richard J. Schwan, 79, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated theft and one count each of attempted aggravated theft, falsification in a theft offense, insolvent handler and delayed price agreement, the release states.

Schwan, who operated Schwan Grain Inc., must pay restitution of $3.2 million before his sentencing hearing next month, and it is to be used to reimburse the farmers, Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund, it states.

“Ohio’s farmers work hard to produce their crops, and this defendant callously took the profits of their labor,” DeWine said in the release. “Our priority in this case has always been to recover the money that rightfully belonged to these farmers, and a condition of this plea agreement requires the defendant to promptly repay the money he stole.”

Schwan’s company transported and sold grain on behalf of 35 farmers in the five counties, and an Ohio Department of Agriculture investigation found he sold more than $3 million in grain for them, but deliberately failed to pay the victims their shares of the profits, the release states.