The owner of farm implement dealerships in Marshall, Salisbury and Sedalia has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. Billy Rutledge admits he sold a repainted Chinese-made tractor as an American-made John Deere, that he conspired to smuggle trucks which didn’t meet American manufacturing and safety standards into the United States from Mexico, and that he defrauded a credit company and two Missouri banks through a farm equipment financing scheme. Rutledge, who is 70, could get five years in prison and a quarter-million dollars in fines. He’ll be sentenced in August.
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