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May 7, 2010

Centerville businessman sentenced to one year probation and a $100,000 fine in food stamp fraud case

DES MOINES — On May 6, Kris Erhardt Koestner, of Centerville, was sentenced to a term of one year probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for tampering with a witness, announced United States Attorney, Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.  Chief United States District Court Judge Robert W. Pratt also directed that Koestner undergo a mental health evaluation and pay $100 to the Crime Victim Fund.

Koestner was indicted for food stamp fraud and witness tampering arising from his Centerville grocery store, J&K Market. Koestner pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness on Jan. 11.  Koestner admitted instructing a witness in the federal investigation that if he was interviewed, he was to tell law enforcement that he (the witness) only purchased food items at J&K Market.

This case was prosecuted in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa. This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and the Centerville, Iowa Police Department.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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