- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Prosecutors say a northeast Iowa businessman already convicted of failing to pay employment taxes has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an ethanol plant scam.

Darrell Smith, of Forest City, entered the pleas Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids to charges of wire fraud and identity theft. Smith was sentenced in December to 13 months for payroll tax fraud.

Federal officials say the fraud and ID theft charges are related to Smith’s investment of clients’ money into a now-defunct ethanol plant in Hopkinton. Officials say that on several occasions, Smith transferred money from clients’ accounts - against their will and without their knowledge - into his bioenergy fund. Investigators say he used either pre-signed, blank authorization forms or forged his clients’ signatures.

His sentencing hasn’t been scheduled.

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