A Colorado man is heading to the big house after scheming millions from cattle enthusiasts.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Richard K. Sears, 73, of Pueblo was sentenced to 41 months in prison due to a cattle investment fraud scheme.

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The Scheme

You may be wondering how someone made a cattle pyramid scheme, but there are stranger things happening in the world.

Back in 2008, Sears began collecting money from investors to develop a breed of cattle, Rocky Mountain Romangus, that had never been created before.

Sears was to purchase a specific number of cows for the investor’s benefit with their entry fee and then “leaseback” the cattle for a set period of time and be responsible for paying all costs related to the cattle.

Cattle Program Gone Wrong

Initially, Sears did send money back to his investors, leading them to believe that everything was going according to plan. In reality, Sears hadn't produced a single "Rocky Mountain Romangus" and even stopped buying cattle altogether in 2011.

Despite the fact that Sears was no longer following his contractual obligations with his current investors, he continued to solicit more people to join his program.

More Money, More Problems

$800,000 later Sears was able to start paying off past personal debts, but still wasn't doing any real business with the cattle program.

Eventually, things caught up to Sears and he found himself face to face with the law.

“Creative fraudsters may go to great lengths to hide their crimes, but we are going to uncover them,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan.  “Dedicated experts in this office and our law enforcement partners use painstaking means to stop complicated fraudulent schemes and bring fraudsters to justice.”

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