Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

May 10, 2010

Centerville businessman receives probation, large fine from 2008 food stamp fraud case

Daily Iowegian

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 had pleaded not guilty to three counts of tampering with a witness, nine counts of food stamp fraud and one count of criminal forfeiture for incidents that occurred in April of 2008.

Koestner pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness on Jan. 11, 2010.  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.

Federal prosecutors alleged Koestner allowed customers to use food stamps to purchase unauthorized items and to pay off credit accounts.

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.