Farm Horizons, August 2014

Man sentenced in Winsted Farmers Elevator felony theft case

By Starrla Cray

The man accused of stealing grain stored and sold at the Winsted Farmers Elevator in 2011 was sentenced July 15 at the McLeod County Courthouse.

Sunil Vidyadhar Sapatnekar, 57, of Long Lake was given two years of probation, a fine of $1,585, and 360 days in jail, 300 of which were stayed. Sapatnekar also has two days of jail credit.

Sapatnekar is required to complete 15 days in the Sentencing to Service (STS) program. Under probation, he must obtain permission before leaving the state, and is not allowed to possess or use firearms, ammunition, alcohol, and controlled substances. Also, he cannot have any same or similar charges.

In addition, Sapatnekar must write a letter of apology to all of the victims.

Sapatnekar was the majority owner of the Winsted Farmers Elevator, which is no longer in operation.

From January 2011 to June 2011, Sapatnekar sold farmers’ grain and transferred the proceeds to companies he owned, according to the McLeod County Attorney’s Office.

Nineteen farmers from Wright, Carver, and McLeod counties either had grain sold without permission or did not receive payment for grain sold to the elevator. The total loss was more than $100,000. Individual losses for the 19 farmers ranged from less than $500 to nearly $30,000.

Sapatnekar was convicted of felony theft June 3.

The investigation was led by the Winsted Police Department, with assistance from the Carver County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau.

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