Melissa Sue Stamp Gets 20 Months in Prison

May 29, 2015 11:12 AM
Melissa Sue Stamp Gets 20 Months in Prison

A federal judge this week sentenced Melissa Sue Stamp to 20 months in prison for her role in the Stamp Farms bankruptcy fraud. She is the wife of Michael D. Stamp, the entrepreneur behind the now-dismantled Stamp Farms in Decatur, Mich., and pleaded guilty in December 2014.

It represents the latest development in the saga of Stamp Farms, which was a Top Producer of the Year finalist in 2012. At that time, Michael D. Stamp appeared to be an ambitious and innovative farmer who had grown his company to more than 40,000 acres. Also among its holdings: Northstar Grain, which Stamp purchased in 2007 and upgraded in terms of capacity and rail connections.

But the success story unraveled on Nov. 30, 2012, when the family’s businesses--Stamp Farms Trucking, Stamp Farms Custom Ag, and Royal Star Farms—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with more than $50 million in liabilities.

Since then, many of the assets have been sold—and indictments announced. In March 2015, federal prosecutors charged three employees with conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud and crop insurance fraud. There have been no indictments against Michael D. Stamp. 

"Bankruptcy can be a haven for those in need of its protection. Individuals that abuse the bankruptcy process by concealing assets threaten the integrity of the system,” said Jarod J. Koopman, special agent in charge, IRS criminal investigation, in a statement announcing Melissa Stamp’s sentence.

As part of her plea, Melissa Stamp admitted to hiding money from the bankruptcy court, including $50,000 in cash in her house and two checks totaling $165,000, which she gave to her brother and father. The judge sentenced her to 20 months in prison and 20 months of “supervised release.” She will also have to forfeit $151,915 in proceeds from the fraudulent bankruptcy and pay $184,500 in restitution, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Michigan.

Melissa Stamp will be under house arrest until October, when she is scheduled to begin serving her 20-month federal prison sentence. Her attorney had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.

Prosecutors are continuing to look for assets related to the Stamp Farms case, including cash, grains, crops, and farm equipment. “Persons who knowingly conceal assets belonging to a bankruptcy case are subject to criminal prosecution,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. MacDonald. “Persons who voluntarily surrender concealed bankruptcy assets may avoid criminal charges.” 

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Spell Check

Fred Lundgren
katy, TX
6/1/2015 11:41 PM

  Who were the creditors? It looks like some big lenders called some notes and the system is designed to starve you totally out when it happens. In the past, we called it "Liquidating 11" because there was no reorganization possible because your operation will be totally destroyed before you can get a plan approved. It appears the Farm Credit Act of 1987 helped him get into debt he was too big to use Chapter 12 to fix it.

Victor Grunden
Indianapolis, IN
5/30/2015 09:14 PM

  Why would anyone conceal assets in Chapter 11? Chapter 11 is supposed to allow one time to restructure, delay payments and repay all or a large portion of indebtedness. While the assets would have been under a bankruptcy trustee, there must have been some hope or the court would have recommended Chapter 7 for one or all the entities. Then to involve three employees, father and brother. She'll be in the company of other fraudsters and a jailhouse lawyer might explain how this thing could have been "milked" for years.

Steve Holifield
Mill Creek, IN
5/30/2015 05:07 AM

  Here is a case of what some consider to be the future of agriculture. You do not from nothing to having everything overnight. The media also has to stop using the term entrepreneur and start using terms like liar, cheat and thief. Amazing that wife went to jail but no charges against him. Tammy Wynette would love this woman. I bet she also still loves him since woman like her seem to love losers and he qualifies for that label. Landlords should take heed and think twice when guys like this come to town. When this grain market finishes crashing I feel we will see more of this.


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